An Unhurried Life (Pt. 2): Gathering Wisdom Instead of Information
This post was written by Jim Smith, a long time friend of Project Patch who worked as a therapist at our Youth Ranch and helped launch our Family Experience. He no longer works at Project Patch but continues to serve families, teens and equip the church for ministry.
Years ago someone described our age as the “information age.” If that was true then it is wildly truer today. I am tethered to a smartphone. You can call me, text me, email me, and video chat with me, all on the same device. I can check the weather, search the web, update my calendar, schedule appointments, and take photos. I can Facebook, tweet, send pictures, receive pictures, read books, and keep up on the news…all on the same device. On one hand it is so handy to be able to do all that on this one device. On the other hand, there is absolutely no excuse not to be busy and accessible every moment of every day.
States have had to put laws on the books that tell us to not use our smart phones (texting) when we drive. We are so used to using the devices at every possible opportunity that we will take the extraordinary risk of looking down and giving our attention to inputting words on tiny keyboards while we guide a 3000-pound missile down ribbons of asphalt surrounded by other missiles.
At a moment’s notice we have information about family members, world events, national interests, emergencies, crisis, work requirements, hobbies, and weather conditions. We can Google any topic and instantly have access to sometimes millions of websites that contain information. This plethora of information leads inevitably toward superficiality and in this day, constant snips of information from the lives of others (tweets?) can lead to superficial relationships. Relationships take time, and if we are hurried, we often feel like we don’t have enough time for them.
If the flow of information is such that it overwhelms our capacity to learn wisdom, the only answer is to begin to slow down the flow of information. Wisdom is not a wallflower. Solomon declared that Wisdom and Understanding call and raise their voice at the crossroads and beside the way (Prov. 8). Folly also calls loudly (Prov. 9) and offers pleasure, but a pleasure without boundaries whose end is death.
Solomon also relates that Wisdom was God’s guide as He created the heavens, earth, day, and night. God’s creation, nature, has a rhythm; nothing is hurried. Things are so stable and dependable in nature that we can create calendars, set our watch, plot our direction, make a compass, and navigate with the stars. Wisdom is what should guide our lives and work as well. Wisdom is more important than material gain, popularity, and bodily pleasure. With Wisdom, we can stay on a creative course that will bear peaceful fruit.
We can begin by slowing the flow of information we have control over. Do we need four news apps on our phone? How much social media is necessary for us to feel connected with loved ones and important friends? How many friends is enough on Facebook? Can we really “connect” with 300 friends? How much do I need to read about current events? Can I silence my smart phone during the day or evening, ever? Do I always have to be accessible?
This will begin to turn down the volume of information both in amount and decibel level. It is then we will begin to hear the voice of Wisdom calling with insight and understanding. Turning down the volume will give us time to think about truth and be changed by our thinking rather than influenced by a crush of information from a hurried world. The point of slowing down the flow of information is to give us the time to clear our minds, think on truth, and allow truth and thinking to give us wisdom.
Think of three ways you can turn down the volume of information in your life this week and use that time to seek Wisdom.