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Book Smart and Wise- Is it Possible?

In elementary school, I was one of the smartest kids in the class. I got A’s without a lot of study. Sitting in class, I sucked up information. I reveled in learning. My younger sister, a popular student, struggled with her studies as she had a learning disability. Yet, I always envied her because she had skills with people I lacked and easily built rapport. She could tell stories and have a room of strangers cracking up. Instinctively, she also had the ability to see people's true colors faster than I did. People loved my sister and accepted her quirky ways because she made them feel comfortable. I craved her wisdom regarding personal relationships. Despite my efforts, I never felt I could possess the wisdom that came to her effortlessly.

I knew that wisdom was more than being book smart. It was seeing more than what was in front of me. It was understanding the whole situation and finding the right answer for the problem. I struggled with this.

There were times my sister would see and interpret a situation while I failed to do the same. Even when I did, I looked to books for answers. Sometimes book answers worked but, more often, they didn't. When I became a Christian, an acquaintance shared Psalm 119:99-100 which says, “Yes, I have more insight (wisdom) than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders for I have kept Your commandments“ (NLT).

I began to rehearse this scripture over my life. As I faced exams for material that I didn’t grasp or professors who I thought didn’t like me, I prayed for the wisdom promised in those verses. God honored His word. I understood the material. Many times the professors I'd believed disliked me, became valuable mentors.

Now as a seasoned Christian, I understand that God’s wisdom is much more than passing exams, grasping new material, or gaining a mentor. It is: " an honorable life doing good works. . .it is pure, peace-loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others . . . " (James 3:13-17, NLT). Though I may not ever possess the incredible charisma my sister has, I've been able improve in relational wisdom. This shift was made possible because I trusted God to help me grow beyond being book-smart.


Dear Lord, show me how to seek the wisdom that comes from you. Help me to study your word, to be discerning, and to pray. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you have an example of what wisdom means to you?

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