This topic is several posts long, but I have been thinking about this for a very long time.
In Proverbs 3, 21-26, Solomon tells us that one of the results of wisdom is a measure of confidence and freedom from fear. I like that, since I am not always confident and free from fear as a mom.
My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
For the LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.
Because of those occasions when I’ve not been confident, and in fact had some fear, I’ve been wondering to myself how exactly wisdom brings confidence. Is this confidence some mystical result of attaining the elusive quality of wisdom? How can I be confident and yet humble? Does wisdom mean I always know the right thing to do in every situation, with 100% certainty? Does wisdom mean I never make mistakes as a mom? I think it makes sense when I look at the process in reverse. When I am confident, it is often because I know why I am doing what I am doing. As I think through my goals in taking certain steps, as I learn how Scripture applies to my situation, I gain confidence, even to disagree when someone else offers an alternative that doesn’t address the goals or biblical principles I want to teach.
I’ll give an example. Although many Christian parents send their children to preschool, we made a deliberate decision not to. I was vaguely confident that we didn’t need to, but it wasn’t until I started asking myself WHY, and thinking about biblical principles that fit our situation, that I grew more confident that this was the right decision for our family. In contrast, when I’m not as confident or even fearful, it’s often because I don’t know precisely why I’m doing what I’m doing.
So perhaps part of developing wisdom as a mother is starting to ask questions that pinpoint the application of scripture (or lack thereof), “Why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish? What am I hoping to avoid?” Instead of asking a mentor what action to take, or what principles I need, I can ask her to help me find biblical principles that bear on a situation. As I learn to find these principles in God’s Word, I can see how wisdom gives confidence. Having someone tell me what to do makes me less confident in the long run. Now I’m challenged to think about the areas in parenting where I’m fearful, and see if I’m lacking in this way.