You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
SOOOOOO many questions and problems come up throughout my day. How do I go about getting an answer? Do I just sit around and navel-gaze till the answer pops into my head? Do I buy every book from amazon on the subject, and hope it's in there somewhere? Do I lock up my kids, so I can do an exhaustive Bible study on the topic and expect to find the answer packed neatly into the study, or in one eye-opening verse?
I realized through interacting with my husband that we all tend to be imbalanced in approaching problems (I realized this by observing him, of course. Just kidding. I'm imbalanced, too. Just a little).
He tends to be a knowledge/head person. I tend to be a heart/feeling person. I like to pray about things. He likes to read and reason for answers. Who's right?
Both and neither.
I'll start with my husband, and how he can often be correct (so I don't sound too puffed up! :)
Many problems can be easily solved by acquiring a bit of necessary knowledge. For instance, I want to organize all my resources, calendars, and lists better so I can spend less time losing random scraps of paper. I want to be more organized so I can relax a bit more at home. Seems like a good idea for a full-time, at-home woman! I can and should pray about this, but reading a friend's blog and googling for some other ideas will sure get me going toward a solution!
I'm improving in this area, thanks to my knowledge-pursuing husband. Give him any topic or question and an hour, and he'll come back with a summary paper on it and at least 10 websites, articles, and books that you might want to check out. My tendency is to pray and sit around helplessly waiting for the answer to drop out of the sky. Clunk.
On the other hand, there are many times when I wrack my brain for a solution based on the good knowledge base I already have, but I JUST CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT. This happens to me a lot with my kids...
In these cases, it seems like many times our real problem is not that we don't have access to the answer, but we're looking in the wrong places. God promises to provide it, but we have to go to the place where he decided to put it!
Basically, I've stopped praying as though a mysterious answer will fall out of the clouds, and started praying for practical answers. Here's the method I've been refining for the last several months that hopefully covers all the bases.
1. Write down my burning problem or question. My current list includes everything from household organization, to child-rearing questions, to personality conflicts.
2. Tell God I can't figure it out, and I really need help. I also mention that I don't really care where the answer comes from, I just need to get one! Remind myself why he cares about the problem. For instance, I know he cares about keeping my kids' clothes organized, because I will be fulfilling my duty to be a frugal and organized wife/mother if I can manage to figure it out! Being frugal and organized was his idea and not mine, so I'm pretty sure at this point he will help me out!
2. Do a brief study/recap of study to see if the answer is clearly given in the Bible (if possible. No closet organizing tips in the Bible as far as I know, just general direction regarding my role as a wife/mother.)
3. Ask husband what he thinks about it. If it relates to our kids or home, many times he has a brilliant, practical solution that I could kick myself for not coming up with sooner.
4. Do a little research to see if anyone else has covered the topic.
5. Wait. Don't do anything. Keep my questions in mind and look for answers everywhere I go. Listen for them when I talk to friends/family, look for them while I'm reading and shopping, etc. God cares, and He's going to answer, when He's ready.