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Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.

[Warning: The following is long and written by one learning to be wise; one who is not quite there yet. This writer does not intend to offend any group of people. The following contains information about the writer that you may never have known. This writer does not support the use of drugs or any other mind-altering substances. This writer does, however, support the use of a dictionary.]

I love the dictionary. I remember this girl from my elementary school, her name was Caitlin, and there was a rumour going around that not only did she read the dictionary, but she read it for fun. As a child, this seemed ludicrous… but now as an adult, I actually know what ludicrous means, and how to spell it.
You see, the dictionary is our friend, our link to understanding the language we speak: and it has helped me greatly tonight.
Tonight we had our young adults bible study, and one of the passages we studied was Proverbs 13:20. I find The Message captures the true essence of this verse’s meaning for me and my life:

“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”

A few posts ago, I talked about water and how I had to adjust to it, and I suggested that it is the same way within the context of my relationship with God. A couple of days ago I started to think about that concept in reverse: what happens to us when we are surrounded by negativity and sin. The more and more we are around it, the less and less harmful or bad it seems. I mean, it’s completely the way that people, for example, start into drugs (at least in my past experience).
When I was 12, I didn’t want to drink let alone do drugs. I even wrote in my journal about how I was going to stay away from drugs, I was never going to try them, not even once because they were trouble, bad people did them, I could get addicted.
Then, I went to high school. Drinking was definitely not an issue, “everyone does that” (so it seemed), but still, I lacked the desire for drugs.
But, the more I heard people talk about it, the less wrong it seemed. And so, I decided to do it. And it didn’t seem too bad, so wrong. All those commercials about it “ruining your life”… but, at that time, it didn’t seem that way to me. So I keep trying it until suddenly my life seemed to revolve around it, I could be honest with hardly anyone, I had to hide my life because I was getting high almost every night.

But that’s what everyone else is doing, right? It’s not even that big of a deal, right?

Well, one day I decided that it was a big deal, and not everyone was doing it, and even if everyone was doing it, I didn’t care because I knew that God had a different plan for me.
I made a choice to change my life that day. I’d been going to church a bit, but now I started to hang out more with those “churchie” people. Those people who seemed pretty geeky and uncool because they didn’t have cool shoes or listen to good music or care about fashion, and they’ve “probably never experienced anything” anyway.
Regardless of my former opinions, this shift guided me toward truth, toward God, toward life. (This isn’t to say that my old friends are responsible for the mess I had made of my life, or that those “churchie” people are responsible for the changes that I’ve made. But both have had a definite influence.)

“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”

wise – adj. – having the ability to discern what is true, right, or lasting.

fool – adj. – one who is deficient in judgment, sense or understanding.

You see, my old friends and I weren’t idiots (which is what I always thought fool meant); we simply lacked sagacity. We lacked experience. We didn’t know. And when a group of people who don’t know any better get together… well, we all have our own stories.
Now I know it’s important to surround myself with wisdom, which doesn’t mean that I know it all, or that other followers know it all, but rather that I want to be around those with a keen discernment, those “evidencing or hinting at the possession of inside information” (Merriam Webster), so that I may also be that way.
The dictionary has helped me to understand Proverbs 13:20 more fully. It seems as though Caitlin, the dictionary reader, knew something that I didn’t: the dictionary is a wealth of knowledge.

Become wise by walking with the wise;”

That’s what I’m aiming for. Becoming wise by talking a long walk through life with a real wise guy: Jesus. Jesus, the link to understanding the world we live in, and how to handle it.

February 28, 2006 - 8:22 am Kim - Oh how wise for one so young. A truly inspirational Post. Someday, I'm certain, I will be used to your great writing skills. Right now I'm still amazed by it. You have been given a gift!
Love Mom XOX

March 1, 2006 - 1:09 am Marilyn - Chelsey, I was just cruising around your blogspot and your photo gallery....did you ever think of combining the two into a book. You have such great gifts to offer the world. Your insight and ability to see through a lense what other might think is ordinary and make it extrodinary (I think that is spelt wrong and I can't find spell check!) is just amazing. I know I would be first in line to buy a copy! Will second I guess cause your Mom would definitley be first! Keep up the great work and keep blogging and snapping photos....I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

March 1, 2006 - 4:27 pm kamara - A plus. double points for using the word "sagacity" both properly and without sounding condescending.
miss you much.

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