Published April 5, 2011
I think most of us who have a certain number of years behind us would agree with this truth that I've increasingly come to appreciate: Every day is a learning experience.
Each and every day there are new things to learn and new ways to apply what you've already learned. I find that to be true in the office and in life. Learning never ends.
Here is a list someone sent to me of things that the writer (whoever that was) has learned. These are mostly not my words, but I can endorse them...
- that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for the rest of your life.
- that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be (or, more importantly, the person God wants me to be).
- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
- that you can keep going long after you think you can't.
- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.
- that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
- that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
- that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
- that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
- that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
- that just because two people argue doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue doesn't mean they do.
- that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. Same goes for hearing.
- that I can be bitter or better.
You could probably add a lot of other truths to that list, all learned from your own experience.
But the kind of learning experiences that are most important to us are those which teach us more about God's ways and about His desires regarding how we live our lives. Take some time to read through Psalm 119. In it the Psalmist pleads many times with God to "Teach me Your statutes." He pleads for "understanding" (v 73) and to be taught "good judgment and knowledge" (v 66). Of course, our way of learning these things is through reading His Word (the Bible) on a regular basis. That's the textbook He's given us for life.
Not all "life-learning" comes easily. The Psalmist, again in Psalm 119, even realizes that "it is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (v 71). He knows that, even though such learning experiences may be painful and difficult, they are necessary. I can testify and you probably can, too that the most difficult times in your life are most likely those very times that bring you closest to God when you are the most reliant on His care, His comfort and His direction. Your "affliction" was allowed by God as a beneficial learning experience. No, it's not easy to think of severe difficulties in that way, but we must keep that frame of mind. Proverbs 1:7 reminds us that "fools despise wisdom and instruction." And "whom the Lord loves He chastens" (Heb. 12:6) to make us more perfect in His eyes and to build our faith in Him, refined as by fire (Isa 48:10, Zec 13:9).
Jesus told His followers, "Learn of me" (Matt. 11:29) and that's surely the most important learning we could have to do His will, in His way, in His time. Watch for learning opportunities today. God will provide them but you have to have the openness to perceive and to take the time to notice.
"Teach me do to Your will, for You are my God..." (Psalm 143:10a).
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