by Bronwyn Lea
In high school math, it was never enough to just give the right answer: you had to show your work. How did you get from the question to that particular solution? This was the question we asked of tutors again and again: “Please, show me how you got there?” Being able to follow someone’s steps gave us confidence when it was time to try to tackle new problems ourselves.
In our walk as Christians, we long for that same kind of mentoring. We don’t just want the answers, we need someone to show us the steps. We hunger for worked examples in the life of faith, which show us the Jesus way and the how and why of it. We want to know how the Word of God applies to the world God has put us in. What does wisdom look like when its boots (or stilettos) are on the ground?
Meet Sophia, or as Proverbs calls her, Lady Wisdom. In Proverbs 1-8, God’s wisdom is personified as a person: a woman, a prophet, an evangelist, a hostess, a friend, and a teacher. She stands at the city gate and calls out to anyone who goes by to attend to her words and example. She invites everyone to a life of wisdom that begins with honoring God, and then reaches into every aspect of the things we love, long for, and choose. She talks about how we spend our time, money, and relationship, how we interact with work, friends, family, and frenemies; how we play, rest, and find joy. Lady Wisdom is the woman we all long to be mentored by, and she invites us to pull up a chair at her kitchen counter and get real about our life with God. Her advice is derived from experience, but it is not mere human opinion. Her ways bear the unmistakable marks of the Holy Spirit.
Propel Women is all about celebrating every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. But passionate pursuits happen in the context of the nitty gritty of daily life, and we need mentors and company along the way. We need Lady Wisdom and her life coaching. Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia’s goal is to find the voices of really wise women, and ask them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. We want to learn from women putting Biblical principles to work in creative, beautiful, contextual ways.
Contextual is an important word as we learn from our Sophia women. The unchanging truth of God’s word might look quite different when applied to different contexts. Truth isn’t relative, but is is relationally and situationally appropriate and that can mean it could be expressed in a variety of ways. “Be generous,” God tells us, but what generosity looks like for a single mom in her thirties working three jobs will look very different to a woman retiring and wondering how to use the remaining decades of her life. We want to hear wisdom from women in a variety of contexts and learn from them. Even when someone’s story is markedly different from ours, there’s always something to learn when a wise woman of God tells us how she has followed Jesus faithfully in her context.
Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space. Let’s cultivate teachable hearts and a willingness to put God’s word into practice in every situation. Proverbs 4:6 says, “Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.”
Let’s lean in and learn from Lady Wisdom together.
Bronwyn Lea is an author, speaker, activist, and most recently, editorial curator for Propel Sophia. She loves Jesus, puns, her home country of South Africa, her adopted country of the US, her endlessly patient husband, her three goofy kids, wisdom and justice, seeing women thrive in the Kingdom, and quality ice-cream (in no particular order). Find her online on the web, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.