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Are You Thinking Straight?

I remember an experience I had at our local Department of Motor Vehicles. Now usually, this is a place that I am not too anxious to visit. Anticipating long lines, I pulled out a checklist I received indicating all the papers I would need to complete the task at hand. I went through the list more than once just to make sure everything was in order.

I arrived at the DMV and it was all quite pleasant. I was greeted with a smile from the woman working at the door. She directed me to the line inside, which was not very long. Then everything changed. A woman in a bright green shirt shed new light on my situation. As it turned out, that checklist I had been given was wrong. It did not include one very important piece of information. Without that, I could go no further. Seeing the genuine bewilderment in my face, the women in the green shirt directed me to another woman. She confirmed that I needed the paper that I did not have with me. Then she looked around the room and said, “Do you what, it’s not very busy here today. If it’s not too far, you could go home and get it and come back. Just tell them Joanne said it was ok.”

I did turn around and get the paper. The woman with the smile was still at the door. After sharing that Joanne had made a way for me to come, everything worked out. Knowing the right person to help made all the difference.

Discernment is so important. There is not always a person there to guide us. It is not helpful to follow the wrong list or the wrong counsel or the wrong person. It is not helpful when your thinking is misguided. Who do you listen to? In whom do you put your trust? Who can help you?

It’s a small thing to not have the papers you need. As you go along in life, there are much bigger things to discern - which job do you take, which person do you build a life with, where do you live or go to school, which church do you join, what medical help do you seek… Often these things are not as clear. We need wisdom. In its most basic sense, wisdom is thinking straight about reality.*

In reflecting on the Psalms, Tim Keller observed, “Wisdom requires practical experience but experience does not necessarily lead to wisdom.” He says that a fool sees and hears things. The difference comes down to how you perceive and understand your experiences. True wisdom and understanding come with God’s help. You can trust in God. He will always be there. He will continue to guide us along good paths. He will give us what we need each day. He sees what we do not see. He knows what we do not know. He understands what is beyond us. You can rely on him to be with you as you step forward into your decision because there is an even deeper plan at work in our lives. It is the good and all-wise plan of God. (Rom 8:28) As the psalmist tells us, “Trust in him at all times…pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (Ps 62:8) Trust in him.


*This understanding comes from Tim Keller.


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