Wisdom: Investing in Relationships

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In 1985, the great baseball pitcher Tom Seaver was on the verge of winning his 300th game, which few pitchers have done. He went over to his 9-year-old daughter in the box seats and said excitedly, “Three more outs to go!” She responded, “Good, then we can go home and go swimming.” (Newsweek, 1/20/1992, p. 47)

What can be learned from this exchange can strengthen our relationships through our ability to learn, desire better, and then apply these learnings into the time we invest with others. I see three things Tom’s daughter taught him with her words:

  1. I do not want to be here, yet I am here because I love you.
  2. Your focus on this goal is not what will strengthen our relationship, time together swimming will.
  3. I will speak Truth at all times.

Have you ever been in that position before? Someone, perhaps your child, spoke truth to you and laid before you an opportunity to humble yourself and learn? What did you do with it? I have, and fortunately for me, I heard the words and was humbled. About ten years ago, I was at a place in my career where the hours were long, projects were many, and my focus was inward. I was not paying attention to what was going on around me. That is, until one day when I was working on a project at home on a Saturday. Normally this would have been the time I would invest in my boys, playing basketball or something outdoors, yet there I was typing away trying to catch up for the week ahead. My two boys where coming in and out of the house, but it was not until the third time that I realized what they were doing. They were getting ready to play some basketball and had not even asked me. So I stopped my son and asked: “Are you guys shooting hoops?” “Yes, he replied” as he continued his way to the door. I then asked the question that forever changed my relationship with them “So, why didn’t you ask me, you know I love to shoot hoops.” “Would it matter? You are always working” he replied.

We can only be humbled if we are teachable. Otherwise, our pride brushes the truth off and responds in a way that justifies our actions and leaves use unchanged to improve the lives of others, including our own.

Today’s Word of Encouragement speaks to the five attributes of HITOP and how investing in them gives wisdom and richer relationships. For me, I learned a lot that day. God humbled my heart, and I closed the laptop, put on workout gear, and played basketball. But what happened that day was I turned my focus from myself to my children. I learned because I was willing to. My desire to elevate God and encourage my boys allowed me to change. Wisdom grows as I live out Second Corinthians 5:15

 
No longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
— 2 Cor. 5:15

Investing in Humility

Can relationships truly flourish without humility? I do not believe so. Why? Without humility, we do not possess the ability to learn; our motivation is selfish. Without humility, our relationships exist to make us feel better, help us to achieve more, and allow us to gain experiences through the resources of others. The focus is always on US! Where pride exists, humility cannot. Pride says, selfishly, “I have this covered” or “I know what I need to do.” Humility responds “I am grateful for (enter name here), let’s see how I can encourage them today.” Or “I am grateful for (enter name here) investment in me, let’s see what I can learn from them today.” Humility allowed me to be teachable and listen. Through Humility, Wisdom is gained.

Investing in Integrity

 For me, there are four relationships that I must focus on and get right for any other to work. First, my relationship with Jesus. He is and will remain first in my life. Next, is my relationship with my wife. Finally, my relationships with my two boys. Integrity means I stand up for what is right. It’s who I am when no one is looking. It took me some time, but I realized in my twenties, I cannot compartmentalize my life by pretending I am someone I’m not to fit in, mainly due to my desire to please people. If I wanted to honor God and be the man He called me to be, then whether I was at work, school, home, church, etc. I must be a Mighty Man of God, period. Humility gave me the ability to learn, integrity the ability to not waver. Through Integrity, Wisdom is gained.

Investing in Truth

Truth is an absolute. It is the core and foundation of a relationship and incidentally HITOP. Truth is authenticity. At the beginning of my marriage, I had a friend who inspired me in all the wrong ways. He had a good income and taught me money equals happiness and being single meant freedom. He was intelligent and taught me this equals self-reliance. He was lost, prideful, and denied God and that was not what I wanted for my life. Before I made an agreement and accepted his truth as my own, God intervened and the friendship dissolved. God did not leave a void in my life. Instead, He connected me with some older, wiser men who spoke absolute truth to me. They shared with me where my validation came from (God). They showed me, love, despite my failures and sins. They did not judge me; they did not condemn me, they invested in me. Each week, through mass dosages of repetition, they spoke Truth to me. I thank God every day for Kirt Eldredge and Gene Rawls for this investment to give me real, Godly truth! Through Truth, Wisdom is gained.

Investing with Obedience

If Humility demonstrates our desire to change and learn, Integrity demonstrates our authenticity, Truth, our ability to have purpose and fulfillment, then Obedience represents our seriousness and dedication. Many people struggle with obedience because they associate it with submission to authority.  Humble men, however, do not. They desire truth and relationships which edify, encourage, and lift up. Through Obedience, Wisdom is gained.

Investing in Prayer

Prayer, the anchor of HITOP, can and will only be exercised in the life of someone with humility, integrity, truth, and obedience. Prayer drives us to intimacy, worship, and experience who God is. Gratitude drives us to experience what God has done. In your relationships, prayer will help you to Love. Listen. Lead. Through Prayer, Wisdom is gained.

Taking it all In

Every relationship you have in your life today will provide you an opportunity to Love intentionally, Listen intently, and Lead Courageously. As you mature and grow in these relationships so too will your wisdom (ability to discern truth).

Wisdom allows us to improve our relationships by moving from taking to giving, from us to them, and from pride to humility.

We have learned how Humility, Integrity, Truth, Obedience, and Prayer all play into strengthening relationships and gaining wisdom. Now it’s up to you whether you desire to keep learning, keep growing and keep serving those you are in a relationship. I desire to invest in relationships so I can edify, encourage, and lift up others. The result is, Wisdom was gained.

Q&Q (Quote & Question)

I am introducing a new section to my blog, the Q&Q. Some of you will be familiar with it if you follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn. I share a quote and ask a question to provoke thought, stimulate collaboration, and encourage. Please feel free to respond in the comments and invest in others so they too can Gain more Wisdom.

Quote:

“Some never get started on their own destiny because they cannot humble themselves to learn, grow, and change” – Author unknown

Question:

What is one thing you have done to strengthen your relationships, resulting in growth?

Until Next Time,
Chris Hewitt, the WOE Writer