Archives for category: wisdom

I saw this picture today explaining the difference between information, knowledge and wisdom. The first 2 panels were created by Hugh MacLeod (Gaping Void) and Bob Marshall added the last panel about wisdom.

gapingvoid_wisdom

It challenges the idea that wisdom is simply the accumulation of knowledge with the right connections, and suggests that wisdom is perhaps more about knowing what information is important and relevant.

Tonight I read Matthew 11 v 25-30 in Matthew for Everyone where Jesus exclaims how his Father has hidden “these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to children!”. Perhaps children know instinctively what is important in life (close relationships, dancing, physical presence, singing, the wonder of discovery, bonding, failing, trying again, etc!) and it often has little to do with accumulated knowledge.

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I have been pondering about my Vocation recently – I don’t think I have one.

2419959_origI am a Freelance Ruby on Rails developer which basically means I build complex web sites (or apps) for my clients so that they can make money – and it really doesn’t feel like this is a Vocation. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t put here by God to make rich people richer. I’d like to imagine that I may be able to use my programming and developer skills and knowledge as part of my Vocation, but I don’t know what that would look like.

So I’ve been stuck, not knowing how to figure out what my Vocation might be. Might I need to retrain and gain different skills? If so what skills and when? Could I create a brilliant web app for the non-profit sector to help raise their income or efficiency and feel that growing that product could be my Vocation? Am I understanding Vocation correctly? Would I only have 1 Vocation?

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I was missing something in my efforts to figure out my Vocation. For example, the guy who created the Ruby language has left a legacy which has changed the world. Many web sites and tools, such as Twitter, GroupOn and thousands of other products, services and tools have been made using the Ruby language he invented, and have changed the way people across the Globe do business and communicate. He didn’t create these tools, but he created the language that enabled these tools to be built.

A few years ago, at some leadership training thing I was at, I was asked what I would like to have written on my Gravestone. After some thought, the word “Catalyst” stayed in my mind and it felt just right, and still does. So I was thinking that perhaps my Vocation would be along these lines, to build or invent or create something that might catalyse others to change lives and communities.

The other day I decided to ask God (it took me a while to realise this was a good idea!). After I explained my thoughts and spent a while imagining what this super web app might do, I listened, hoping that God would reveal this missing something, this incredible but simple something which would fit this idea of being a catalyst and make it clear what my Vocation would be. I asked a simple (but dangerous) question: “What do you want from me?”

The answer was very clear and not what I expected. I felt God say that He wanted to know me and be known by me. Essentially that He wanted me to draw closer to Him and be open, naked, vulnerable with Him. And it hit me: the only way I will ever discover my Vocation is to know my God more, to know His heart, His desires and hopes, and to allow Him to know me too. It wasn’t the practical idea or action I was wanting to hear, but instead it was God’s desire to share a deeper intimacy with me. I have to agree: to discover my Vocation, it’s a good place to start.

I recently came across a song by John Mayer called Stop This Train (lyrics here) which is beautiful.

I have listened to it over and over again over the last week or so, each time finding myself connect with his lyrics. It gives me a feeling of nostalgia and a longing for a different version of my life.

I finally expressed how I connected with the song to Mary-Lou last night when talking about feeling sad about losing Amy. If this is the train I’m on, the one where Amy has died, then yeah, stop this train because I want to be on the one where Amy didn’t die.

In his lyrics, John Mayer sings about the advice his Dad gives him. He says wait until you’re older, then you’ll realise that you can’t stop this train, you can’t change the place you’re in.

I really like the idea that age brings wisdom. I really loved the Proverbs about wisdom when I was younger. And perhaps I’ve idolised wisdom at points.

But if I’m to grow wise through losing Amy, I don’t want it. I want her.