Embracing the growth process is realising we learn by repetition. Toddlers learn to walk by falling and then getting up again over, and over again.
Personally, I often feel like a failure when life brings me back in a circle to a place where I am staring at a situation again that I have faced before, and I realise that I didn’t learn the lesson so well last time. Being in that situation again makes me feel like a failure.
But what if I accept that genuine learning in life always comes by repetition. Then I can release the shame of not being enough and focus on what the next layer of growth in the situation is. That allows me to embrace the fact that God is good and is allowing me to learn this lesson better still.
Once upon a time, in a time long, long ago; God impressed on my inner being this: God made me victorious. That means he is willing to give me the grace, the tools, and the training to overcome every situation I am currently facing. Nothing is bigger than God. And nothing is bigger than I am in Christ Jesus. But I must be willing to embrace the learning process.
That is a hard one for me at times. But like I said in my previous post “Faith for 2020,” if I still myself before God and hear him instill that again in my spirit, my faith rises up to face the challenge.
I feel like the last some years have been all about embracing the growth process. A serious repeat of many lessons.
The lesson to still myself so God’s word comes alive inside my spirit? Check! That lesson started in my teens and I distinctly recall that being branded into my spirit then. But I guess the branding needed to be deepened.
The lesson that when we abide in Christ we will be fruitful? Check! Also started in my teens.
The lesson to confess faith with my mouth? Check! Late teens. And I don’t mean just faith to be saved. I mean faith for all things Jesus calls us to, and all situations we face. Hear God speak, believe with your heart, confess with your mouth! And… action!
The power of right thinking? Check!
The power of confessing sin? Check!
The foundation for rock solid confidence? Check!
It seems all my lessons I am getting to repeat now started a long time ago. Guess I am a pretty slow learner.
But the truth I need to remember is that the toddler gets up and does things better every time. Sometimes we don’t even notice the change from one try to another. But do it enough, and eventually the repetition, the practice, makes the master. And next you know, they are racing around the house so fast you can’t keep up with them.
The lessons I get to learn now that I am older may be more complex, but the process is still the same. Try! Fall! Repeat! Practice! There is no learning without that.
However, I have learned a few things that can speed the learning process up. For one, drop the shame. I have learned that I need to be quick to confess my failure to myself, God, and a trustworthy mentor. Then receive and embrace the forgiveness completely. Release the shame! Immediately! In an instance!
Second, I can learn from those who have gone before. The wise ones are often gray haired. Sometimes it takes a bit of interpreting to make their advice practical for me today. But I must honour them, hear them. Treat these gurus with respect and they’ll hand me the cheat sheet to the video game… uhm… er… I meant to say life.
These old-timers can give me pointers that will allow me to do slap shots in a matter of minutes rather than days and hours of trial and error. Did I just go off on a hockey tangent? Sorry. It applies equally well to life in general.
These Yoda have a connection to the force that I can plug into through them. Uh, not just in movies, in real life too.
There are spiritual giants who have walked with God longer than I have. White hair is good. (I see that now since my hair are getting there.) I used to think: “I am so ready for a mentor. If only that famous celebrity guy would take me under his wings.” Then I learned that unless I honour the common teachers who have plenty I can learn from, I don’t deserve the master.
There is an old Chinese saying: “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” When I become teachable, I become a target for wisdom. Teachers who love to teach me wisdom come out of the woodwork. Solomon puts it like this: “God gives grace to the humble.” (See Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) Being humble and being teachable are almost the same thing. (I’ll leave the differences for later.)
So here I go… repeating this life lesson again! And I will be a master. I know that because Jesus has started a work in me, and he will complete it. (See Philippians 1:6) And I heard it, I believe it, and with my mouth I confess it!