Daily D – Proverbs 9:11-12
Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. PROVERBS 9:11-12 (NLT)
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you.
Wisdom is not always hard. Sometimes it merely requires disciplined acts faithfully repeated as often as necessary. For example, how many times have you heard instructions recently about washing your hands? This has always been a good habit. We are re-learning this habit for the benefit of ourselves and others. This is wise. What other matters of simple self-discipline should we incorporate that make life better? This is a good time to work on those little things that make such a big difference.
Simple habits faithfully repeated save us from pandemics. They quite literally save lives. What could new beneficial habits do for our families, our work, our recreation?
A few years ago, I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. What a great book! I highly recommend it. Not long after that, I found and devoured James Clear’s Atomic Habits. If you have not read them or listened to them as audiobooks, do yourself a favor and get on that. You probably have a little extra time right now. May I suggest you read them in that order?
This is an oversimplification, but helps explain the nature of the books: Duhigg lays out the research. Clear applies it in bite-sized chunks. It takes a while to form a habit that leads to the successful completion of running a marathon. In fact, it requires lots of habits to make this happen. It does not take nearly so long to get in the habit of a bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate on top.
Stay with me here. Ice cream is not a good breakfast food.
Micro-habits are intermediate steps toward bigger habits. Several authors have written about this with helpful insights. For example, it is not our goals that make us successful. It is the deliberate, intentional actions we take that lead us to accomplish those goals. In other words, it is our habits that lead to success. We are about as successful as we discipline ourselves to be through our habit creation.
- A wise person washes his or her hands. Got it.
- A wise person washes those hands for twenty seconds or more. Check.
- A wise person washes those hands for twenty seconds or more with soap. Done.
- A wise person washes those hands for twenty seconds or more with soap and water that is as hot as possible without burning the skin. All right, all right, all right! Stop nagging me!
By the time this pandemic is over, this should be normal and natural for the rest of our lives. Who knows, we may live healthier, longer lives as a result. Who could have predicted that? Besides your mother, your grandmother, your teachers, your doctors, etc.?
What are your rituals and habits now? The good ones, I mean? Could you add something to it? For example, after reading Atomic Habits, I added some exercise to my morning routine. When I finish writing each morning, the dogs and I go downstairs for their favorite time of day. While they eat and take care of physical necessities, I do pushups and planks.
My goal is not to look good on the beach, my wife would never permit that. She is really concerned about the possibility of me getting more skin cancer. I’m not too fond of skin cancer either. Have you ever had a man with a knife cut a hole in your nose? It is not nearly as much fun as you might think.
My goal in my morning exercise is to strengthen my core muscles so that they keep the bulging disks in my back from causing me serious pain throughout the day. Therefore, I follow this rhythm morning by morning:
- Feed the dogs.
- Drop and get a set of pushups.
- Start my second cup of coffee.
- Drop and do planks.
- Get out my vitamins and medications.
- Play ball with Ollie.
Playing ball with Ollie and drinking that second cup of coffee are my rewards for pushups and planks. Remember, no ice cream for breakfast.
Wisdom multiplies days and adds years. On the other hand, worry does not. Jesus had a lot to say about that in Matt. 6:25ff. It cannot add time to your lifespan. It cannot make you taller.
Simple wisdom faithfully applied enriches and extends life. Worry and lax behavior make life harder and shorter. Make the wise choice.
I will choose the benefits of wisdom.
Our Father, empower me to develop those wise habits that will make life better. Empower me as well to root out those habits which hinder proper growth and development. Deliver me from habits that take away days and years. Make me healthy and strong in mind, body, and spirit so that I may honor you and serve others. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)