In this series I am talking about what the verse above states...a woman who is wise builds up but a foolish one tears down. It was important to me though, before getting to the meat of what the Lord showed me about how we can build up rather than tear down, that I touch upon a few basics. What is "basic" to one may be very new and not-so-basic to another and I don't want to take for granted that someone reading understands what I'm talking about! In the last post we talked about laying down a solid foundation. If you missed it, you can read it HERE.
Today I want to talk about the blueprint we are given for building. Every good and wise builder uses plans when he builds. A blueprint is simply a "detailed plan of action"and tells the builder everything he needs to know about the structure he is working on from the layout to materials. As women who are desiring to wisely build up we too need to have a detailed plan of action if we want to be successful in our building. So where do we go? I go to God's Word, the Bible. In it you will find all the information you will need to build successfully and you will also find out how you can be foolishly tearing down! Too often we think we can be self-sufficient and do this thing called life on our own...and maybe we can. But I believe if you want to successfully build up your life and the lives of those around you it is imperative that you turn to God and search His Word, our blueprint, for a detailed plan of action.
One thing as I talk with ladies that I hear pretty much from each of them is that finding time to be in God's Word daily and consistently is a challenge. And this crosses all age groups and seasons of life. What worked at one time in the life of a lady may not work anymore when circumstances change. I recently ran into this when one of my child's school schedule changed. My elementary school kids start school later but once they get to middle-school the time school starts is earlier and the school is farther away meaning a longer bus ride and much earlier pick up time. I was used to getting up early before any of the kids were up but with this change came the loss of that time because now I had a child to get up and get on a bus during the time I would normally use for reading in God's Word. I have continued to find it very challenging to find a time of day that works consistently for me to find that quiet time. I know I'm not alone in this. Over the years I have had wise women share with me different ways they have been successful in being in God's Word regularly...and the fruit of it is how they are wisely building up their families and those around them. Here are a few things that I found to be gems of advice through the years:
1. Use night feedings as an opportunity to be in the Word. When Owen was a baby I was sharing with a more experienced mom how I was struggling to find the time to read my Bible every day. She could have been very critical and judgmental of me and pointed out all the ways I was foolishly using my time but instead she lovingly nodded her head in understanding and shared with me that she would use her night feedings with the babies to do her Bible reading. This made so much sense! It was the quietest time of day in a house with little children, no one to interrupt you and you had to be awake anyway to feed the baby so why not read. She even suggested writing some verses or passages of scripture on a note card and just meditating on the same verses for the week and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak in the silence. I don't know why I hadn't thought of doing that prior to our conversation but it turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice I received as a new mom.
2. Feed your soul before you feed your stomach! A few years ago I attended a Ladies Conference and the speaker was talking about being in the Word regularly. One thing she said that stood out to me and that I came home and implemented in my own life was how, if we are struggling to be in the Word consistently, to try disciplining ourselves to not eat anything until we have spent time feeding our soul with the Word of God. This was so practical and made so much sense! I can't say I have done this well every day since that time but overall it has helped me a lot to be in the Word more and reminded me how it is just as important, if not more so, to be fed from God's Word as it is to be fed with food. What is great about this advice is it not only places the priority on God rather than food but it also will likely cause you to do your Bible reading in the morning, at the start of your day...when we need it the most! I am not one to tell anyone that their Bible reading has to be done at a certain time of day but in my own life I know that when I start the day off with God I am going to be more successful in responding to my spouse, my children and the unexpected things that come up then if I neglect to spend time with God at the start of my day.
3. Get Creative! Every season of life presents challenges. The mom of young children doesn't have it harder than the retired mother. The full-time working mom doesn't have it harder than the stay-at home-mom. The mom who homeschool's her children doesn't have it harder than the mom who sends her children to school. The unmarried lady doesn't have it harder than the married lady. EVERY life has challenges...the challenges just look different. One thing we need to stop doing as women is comparing our lives with each other. Because each of our lives is different and presents different obstacles, sometimes we need to get creative in how we spend time with God in His Word. Sometimes it's just reciting verses we have hidden in our heart and meditating on them when we are in the shower. Sometimes it's sitting down for 30 minutes each day, at the same time and reading the same amount of verses. Sometimes it's listening to the audio Bible on your commute. Sometimes it's reading between appointments on your smartphone Bible app. My point is that spending time in God's Word doesn't have to be the same for everyone. It's doesn't have to be a set amount of time, at the same time everyday. Your time in God's Word doesn't have to look like mine; what is important is that it is happening. Sometimes you have to get really creative in order to make it happen...and that's OKAY! Do you have creative ways you have implemented Bible reading into your day? I'd love to hear about it and I'm sure other reader's would too!
If your desire is to be a woman who wisely builds other's up then you need to discipline yourself to be in God's Word regularly. Knowing what His Word says allows us to understand what He expects of us and then we can put that knowledge to use as we build. We are told in Psalm 19:7-8
The law of the is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Everything we read in God's Word is right and perfect and what we glean from it makes the simple wise. You cannot expect to be wisely building if you are neglecting your time with the master builder and allowing Him to instruct you. If you have never taken the time to do a word study on the words wise and foolish I would encourage you to spend some time in God's Word doing just that. It is amazing how much God has to say about these two traits. Do you have a detailed plan of action for how you will build wisely? If not, then start today and begin by going to God's Word and allow Him to teach and instruct you and give you the plans you need for successful building.
***Next we will talk about WHERE we should build!***