I worked the finish line of a triathlon with a group of women. We handed out finisher medals, bottles of water, managed stats, and took off the athletes’ ankle timing straps. While we waited, we shared (mostly running) stories and got to know each other a little better. Very soon, I realized the company I kept: these women were swimmers, cyclists, marathon, duathlon, triathlon, and ultra running athletes. One woman started running ultras in her 50s. Another woman was 65 and a frequent marathon runner. Spending time with them not only inspired me, it completely reset my mindset on what I thought was possible at my age and experience.
Yesterday as I read about wisdom, for the first time, I saw her as a sister. Today, she tells me about herself, and I have that same wonder and awe I felt at the race.
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
and nobles—all who rule on earth.
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind. (Proverbs 8:12-31, NIV, emphasis mine)
She speaks, and it sounds like a secret, a promise, a reward. But it’s no secret. It was there all along.
“Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36, NIV)
I reflect on choices that I’ve made, that people I know and care for have made. I felt a sadness in some instances because the consequence brought sadness (or worse). Examining the steps one chose, I wondered then how the Lord loves us–how he wants us to grow and make good choices: choosing him. And how choice can bring sadness (or worse) apart from him. But still, we have choice (and what a magnificent, terrifying, enormous, eternal responsibility to steward!).
As I read on, wisdom sets a table and offers an invitation. Folly does too. Wisdom, prudence, insight follow in these beginning proverbs. Folly does too.
Which table do I choose? Whose company do I keep? Wisdom calls and truly resets my mindset on what is possible–even at my age.