Wisdom is like a woman shouting in the street, she raises her voice in the city squares. She cries out in the noisy street and shouts at the city gates. “You fools, how long will you be foolish? How long will you make fun of wisdom and knowledge? If only you had listened when I corrected you, I would have told you what’s in my heart; I would have told you what I am thinking. I called, but you refused to listen. Proverbs 1:20-24
I love this proverb. Wisdom is a woman calling us to truth by just listening.
After getting cancer, I am learning to listen more. I am getting much better at it very quickly and it took this experience to make that happen for me. I have generally been a poor listener. I want you to be a lot better at this skill than me without the pain of learning the hard way. The older I get, the more I realize that wisdom is not linear with age or even experience. Wisdom is more linear with aptitude for listening. Pay attention. Listen to things that people both intend and don’t intend to communicate but do, you will put yourself in the fast lane to wisdom. This is way easier said than done, but I encourage you to be intentional about trying your best. I am not sure listening is a natural human instinct. For such a passive activity, it takes a lot of work.
I can offer a practical tip that I wish I had learned to do much earlier in life. Strive to be the last person in the room to speak. If you are in a group of colleagues at work, in a conversation with a partner or close friend, or a community committee meeting- sit and just listen to everyone. This will not only make others feel heard, but it will also put you in a position to synthesize where others, sometimes others with diverging opinions, are coming from. Speak at the end. If you really listen to everyone well before you speak, your statement will often be the last because it is wise.
Don’t waste your time burying your head from wisdom, which has always been my natural tendency. Your time and love are your most precious resources- please remember this. Protect your time and your love as your greatest treasure- far more cherished than riches, fame or validation. You do this by pursuing wisdom through listening, watching, observing and seeking truth.
Wisdom is a woman calling you to listen.