“I know, I know!”, a girl with two black braids shouted at the front of the class. If she hadn’t been so small, her finger would have pierced a little hole in the ceiling. The teacher had asked a difficult question and she knew the answer. She knew, and she wanted to tell her so bad.

This blog is about her quest to more knowledge, and instead she found wisdom. Wisdom in Person. This Wisdom is for everyone, regardless how smart you are!

 You guessed it: that girl was me. Like every child, I too felt the need to be seen and heard. To be meaningful. To feel strong. I found all this in the pursuit of knowledge. The more I knew and understood, the more I was heard and seen. At least, that’s what I thought. And it was also a bit true. Of course, there was a period when I certainly didn’t show that. It’s called puberty , I think. But I knew early on that good grades and knowledge brought appreciation and recognition. I discovered my nerdy side. I’d love to analyze, to remember theories and facts.  Besides, it was an easy escape for me. Interaction scared me. And secretly still a little.

From mbo (secondary vocational education) I cycled to the HBO (higher professional education)) and there it was, painfully obvious: theoretically strong, a lot less in practice. Each time I was confronted in my internships with one of my limitations: my lack of people-skills due to fear. Quite the challenge if you have chosen a social education, I tell you…

From hbo came the advice: after the first year you’d better go to college, you’ll fit better there. A tempting advice; more books, fewer sweaty hands and less stuttering moments during internship interviews! At the same time, a dreadful image passed my mind’s eye: tucked away in a soggy basement with a lab coat… (I don’t know why I was wearing a lab coat or sitting in a soggy basement, but you get me). But I didn’t choose social education for that! I wanted to help people. However, one teacher was wise and said, “the gap between what you know  and what you can do becomes even bigger. Maybe you should first grow into who you are furthermore than just ‘a brain on legs’.”

Was there more to me? Like Solomon from Preacher I asked myself: what then do I gain by being wise? Or in my case, what do I want to be so wise for? For what? Embarrassingly, I have to confess: for myself. To profile myself. Defend myself. Hiding myself. To be seen and heard. Myself.  But if someone asked, “Who are you?”, I was tongue-tied. I noticed I had no foundation. No self-confidence or identity. And with that, no rest.

Rest came only when I met Wisdom Himself: Jesus. In Him I found a Foundation, a rock-solid faith and unconditional love. Identity. Jesus to me is Wisdom in Person. He taught me that wisdom is something other than endless pursuit of knowledge. This Wisdom is not afraid, has no urge to prove itself, does not repel people, does not isolate, is not envious or judgmental, does not boast, and is not restless. This Wisdom gives peace, inspires, rises above the mind and reaches for the heart, is righteous in love, is gentle and courageous, is serving and humble, brings and seeks connection, grows, is endlessly loving and forgiving. This Wisdom embraces. And in that embrace, everything is different.

Knowledge is not a dirty word, by the way. I just used it wrongly. In addition, I confused my own knowledge (or cockiness) for Biblical wisdom. In the Bible I found James 3:17: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wow, what is described here is about at odds with how I have understood knowledge! The Holy Spirit wanted to show me this so I could repent of it. Fortunately, He wants to cooperate with what He has already put in us. In my case, I get to analyze! There it goes.

“Wisdom from above is pure.” My motives for gaining more knowledge were certainly not pure, but self-oriented..

‘Then peace-loving’. Um, I slap people with titbits and theories around the head (usually in my head, because yes, social an itsy bitsy anxious)..

“Considerate.” Hmm, more dismissive (but with ‘well’ substantiated arguments of course).

“Submissive.” Well, anything but that. On the outside, of course, but all the less so on the inside.

“Full of mercy and good fruits.”  I used knowledge more often to condemn, reject and create distance, which produced fruits such as hubris, loneliness, closedness and little flexibility.

“Impartial and sincere. For this you need to be more interested in the heart of the other than getting your own right.. I failed on all sides!

This text is full of revelation about what wisdom is and what it looks like. With the knowledge of today and the understanding of the Holy Spirit about His Word, I read instructive lessons in this text from James:

“Wisdom from above is pure.” If I want to discover and show God in everything I learn, that is where my heart is focused on Him and I can deal with knowledge purely.

“Then peace-loving.” With knowledge you can connect and bring together, especially if you search with wisdom for the heart of people.

“Considerate.” Kind and compassionate. That is a different attitude than a critical or a distrustful one. Helpful and friendly, without fear that people are taking advantage of you or that you’re making a mistake.

“Submissive.” Open. With the idea that you can learn from others. That you even have a limited knowledge of your own. Whether that’s a lot or a little.

“Full of mercy and good fruits.” This means:  all inclusive! Loving, embracing everyone.

Fruits will then be: humility, love, open and learnable. 

“Impartial and sincere.” Not socially desirable behavior, but genuine love, support and interest.

Okay, I can (thankfully) take eternity for this. What particularly touches me is that wisdom is a matter of the heart in combination with the mind. And sometimes even without reason. The latter is a matter of surrender for me. This one is still under construction!

With Encyclo.nl and The Bible, I come to the following conclusion:

Knowledge is part of wisdom. It’s what you know or have learned. Wisdom, however, is the ability to act with insight. When you can’t apply knowledge with the right insight,  it’s useless.

Insight comes with vision, a view. The right view, admittedly. To the Father. Jesus knew this. In John 5:19 he says: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

It is not: why I have become so wise, but for Whom?

The journey of discovery to whom I am even more besides ‘a brain on legs’, is still going on. In the embrace of Wisdom Itself, I have changed so much already. I’m getting more and more healed and free from myself. And yes, there is still a lot to tinker with my people-skills.  Ask around. No, please, don’t😊 But I get to analyze all kinds of texts during that journey of discovery, hoping to gain more and more wisdom. Without a soggy basement and a lab coat.

by Karuna Toes van Dorp