What Mother Teresa would say about my TOTAL lack of common sense
Are you book smart? Or are you street smart?
Or are you one of those rare gems who can claim both?
When I was in high school, my tendency to lean toward book smart became blaringly obvious. I have a feeling my parents had always known I had a certain deficit in that other area but I remember the first time I realized my own lack of common sense.
Ha! The truth hurts.
My tenth grade English class was signing up for research paper topics. My first choice was Grace Kelly. I used to watch a television show called Grace Under Fire. I could have sworn the main character’s name was Grace Kelly.
Princess of what?
Where the heck is Monaco?
So I begged my teacher to let me change my topic– Yul Brynner? Sure, I love that movie Cool Runnings! My favorite part, of course, is the end when the Jamaican character Yul Brenner and his teammates crawl out of the crashed bob sled and carry it across the finish line. I still get goose bumps thinking about it!
I was so irritated when my mom told me Brynner was the guy from The King and I.
She was always bursting my bubbles like that. I should have jumped on Oprah Winfrey when I had the chance.
No wonder my mom still worries about me, even now as an adult leading my own family. Look what she was up against all those years! When all you have is book smarts to make it through the day, life can get rough!
Thank goodness scripture says that when we ask God for wisdom, He will not deny us. James 1:5 reads, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Undoubtedly there are phases in life when I have pointedly sought wisdom about specific situations or choices that needed to be made. Is this the right time to start a family? Should we move here? Should we invest in that? Should I take this job over that one? In those times when I felt pressured to make the “right” decision, all of a sudden I had an urgent need to discover God’s will and most of my prayers ended up starting by asking begging for wisdom. No shame in that. I think that is a natural, sincere effort to keep our hearts aligned with His.
I came to an epiphany recently. Our pastor spoke about trusting God as part of a series on Wisdom (the scripture references from that sermon are below), and he made me question myself.
He related a story about Mother Teresa, in which she interacted with ethicist John Kavanaugh. Basically, Kavanaugh asked Mother Teresa if she would pray for clarity for him so he would know what to do with his life.
And she refused!
She said to him, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
I thought back to many of the times when I asked God for wisdom– how to handle a situation or which choice to make. I realized even though I was asking God for wisdom, what I really meant was that I wanted clarity. I wanted a sure sign of which path was the “right way.” Like I was hoping The Almighty would tilt his crystal ball just a tinge so I could catch a glimpse of my future and make sure everything was going according to plan. And because I tend to expect the world to spin for me alone, my plan, unfortunately.
I want to be more intentional in seeking His wisdom. Is my search truly for wisdom? Or am I showing a lack of trust? Am I looking instead for clarity? Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
If I seek wisdom and trust The Almighty (sometimes with clarity, often without), what hope will accompany me!
Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight.
Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.