Friday, September 13, 2013

The Second Essential Question Needed for Courage: Is It Wise?

The Fuzzy

"Is it right?" was the first essential question needed for courage (See "Is It Right?").

But what happens when right is not clear?
Wisdom is needed.

Wisdom helps sort out the fuzzy. It gives confidence when knowing what to do isn't real clear. It can be figuring out if the idea is right. Or, deciding how an idea is applied to a life, how it is used. Wisdom is where truth bumps life.

Knowing that something is right gives confidence for courage. But, how can our children know if something is right and worth the risk, if it is not spelled out?

I had the audacity years ago to teach a class called "Knowing God's Will" in the Lay Institute of Dallas Seminary. I am still not sure why they let me do it, but I hope today that I at least caused no harm. I pointed the class to some ideas that I think are right. I have learned some things since then, too.

"Knowing Gods' Will"  gets down to using wisdom to decide if something is right or wrong to do. Lots of books have been written, you might go to some. But, below is a starter. These are things that a child should learn, to sort out life in the fuzzy times, to know when to step out in faith and with courage.

1. Pray. Maybe I should just stop there. James chapter one says that God gives wisdom to those who ask. The beginning point of wisdom is to put God in His place and understand life through His eyes.
2. Ask the Bible. Wisdom relies on truth, and particularly truth from the Creator. The Bible provides poignant truth for all people, about how life really works. Second step for wisdom is to see if the Bible speaks into the situation, either directly or indirectly.
3. Ask others. I am pretty confident that people have figured out whatever I am stuck on before. Ask a variety of people. Ask friends and family who love you and want your best. We can easily deceive ourselves; others help us see situations from different views and bring new and tested ideas.
4. Listen. Sometimes we don't understand and don't hear because we don't listen. Or, we are trying to listen where it is too noisy. Help your child find quiet and peaceful pockets in life so words can be heard and thoughts had. Scheduling every minute and filling the rest with screens and audio blocks truth and confuses thoughts. Outdoors seems to help, just playing or walking.
5. Know self. Help your child know his or her gifts and interests. Help your child try different parts of life to see how God made him or her. Discovering self happens best when fed with ideas and opportunities, used. Wisdom often results from following one's gifts and passions.
6. Pros and Cons. Sometimes just writing down the good and bad helps. Writing often brings clarity to thinking.
7. Feel freedom. If God is speaking and counsel is directing, feel confident to move that direction, with heart. But, a lack of being clearly told is not a reason to stand still; often the choice to move in faith is followed by understanding and affirmation. If there is nothing saying "don't," we should feel the freedom to do it. At least try.

The goal is to sort out fuzzy choices so your child can act with courage, not be afraid to try and move forward. The actions above may help. Practice helps. Wisdom is often an art more than a science, led by the Holy Spirit. Help your child to progressively practice using these tools, kind of like giving them paper and crayons. Then sharp scissors when they are ready!

Lord willing, it will be clear that the choice is the right one.

Then, the next question is: "Who should do it?"
Your child. Or someone else?

Helping a new person in school.
Giving money to missions.
Hugging a hurting friend.
Rescuing a dog from a fire.

All good. And right.
But, who should do it?

Courage not only comes from knowing it is right to do, but knowing you are the right person at that time.
How do you know? How does your child know he or she is the one, for that time and place?

Coming up: "Am I the one?"

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