Wise people can also listen and learn; even they can find good advice in these words. (Proverbs 1:5)
There’s something we can learn in every situation from every person…even if it’s something we learn to avoid instead of replicate. How willing are you to learn? Do you go into every situation, looking for what God wants to teach you? Do you easily dismiss some situations because you’ve “been there, done that” and are certain it will be the same? It’s essential to learn from past mistakes and avoid being in similar situations or attitudes that will yield the same mistakes, but that’s not the only reason we avoid situations and attitudes. We often avoid some things because they’ll require an effort of learning we don’t really want to expend.
Learning requires change, and we’re not always open to change.
Even people who say they enjoy change would probably agree the change they most enjoy is that which they’ve been part of creating or that which is consistent with their preferences. Faced with change that is in opposition to where we are or where we want to be is another story.
But that’s the kind of change God requires.
So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Spiritual growth isn’t comfortable. It’s rewarding, but even when we can appreciate the benefits, we don’t always like the process. In fact, we even try to micromanage the process a bit (as if we could). Our micromanaging definitely impacts the process, but not in the way we intend. We don’t change the process. We simply impact the effect the process has on us. Our willingness to yield and obey through the lessons affects our spiritual growth.
For example, we might begin to categorize our gifts and skills and set aside the things we don’t think we should or can do. We see people who are more organized than we are (or insert just about any other skill), and we begin to accept that we will never attain that level of organization. However, we have a great relationship with a person who has those skills, and the topic seems to come up over and over. We brush it aside, keeping ourselves where we are instead of imagining where God wants us to be. He’s handing us a learning opportunity, but our fear, intimidation, or disinterest keeps us from engaging.
Yes, there are some things less likely for us to learn because of a variety of limitations, but are they limitations God created in us to keep us within the bounds of the purpose of our lives, or are we limiting ourselves? Or, are we projecting what we think are our limits, claiming them as God’s limits for us? Be careful. God will often teach outside your comfort zone.
If God intends for you to learn it, you can learn it.
Learning God’s way isn’t the easy way, but it’s the best way. Are you ready to learn what he wants you to learn today?