If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. John 8:31-32
I have to admit that today was a bit of a struggle. But in that struggle, I came to, what to me is a startling conclusion. I’m becoming too settled in my ways. I’m becoming one of those older people who prefers to have things a certain way and doesn’t want them to change. GAH!!!! I need to stop that way of thinking. I need to remain open, with a teachable heart and spirit! No being a close-minded curmudgeon for me!!!!
The thing is, to avoid becoming such a person I have to make sure that I do hold to what is true and right. Not letting the winds of change give me any reason to doubt the veracity of what I know to be true. Truth must be held to but I must remain open to change that is just window dressing you know?
So how does one maintain a teachable heart?
It’s a hard question to answer in some ways. Which is silly you know? I think about my boy and how he heeds my words, how I can point him to a good resource, and show him a book. I can show him a youtube video or watch a lesson from Drive Thru History and hear “I never knew that before”. I hear words like “Mom, tell me if I’m wrong ________________________” and I can either say ‘yes, that’s right’ or ‘almost but think about _____________’ and occasionally ‘no’. He has a teachable heart.
Now I have a teachable heart. There are times my lad tells me something I didn’t know before and it’s like wow.. that’s cool Or I’m doing my devotions and discover a new truth and think..neat how nuggets of truth are sometimes just hidden away. So it’s not like a don’t have a teachable heart right?
What then IS a teachable heart?
Is it the willingness to go beyond knowing stuff? To be able to take knowledge and apply it in some way to your life, learning and position? Is that having a teachable heart? For instance, taking the knowledge that ants always work for the good of the colony (a lesson from my boy)… and remembering from scripture that God tells us to look to the ant in Proverbs 6 (a lesson from God). Putting those two bits together and thinking how as “ants” we should be looking to the betterment of the Christian Family and work diligently at it? Is that having a teachable heart? Is having a teachable heart realizing that just because words to my favourite hymns have been changed doesn’t make them bad or annoying… it’s just changing words to fit the times we are in? Is having a teachable heart mean accepting rebuke and letting that rebuke (assuming it’s an accurate one) change your perspective and heart and therefore your actions?
How does one foster a teachable heart?
As I think about what it means to have a teachable heart I have to consider how one gets from point a (learning) to point c (doing).
Point A needs to be a willingness to learn, to be taught, to listen to those who know something you don’t. God’s word is full of information I don’t know. Teachers in books and in school know information that I don’t. But if the willingness to learn isn’t there, the learning will come MUCH harder you know? No drive to learn, no push to remember right? It’s like a delayed doing a spelling program with my lad because he had NO desire to learn, he was content with where he was. But this year he wanted to learn spelling, and so that internal push has helped him immensely to learn to spell better which is very good.
Point B. Applying what you learn. Take my lad and his spelling. He asks how to spell a word and now if I ask him what would be at the end of a word with a long vowel.. he can fill that in. If he tells me something about his ants and asks a question I can usually answer it now because he talks and I listen because it’s important to him that I do. (do I really care that much about them???? honestly no..but I care about him so I learn and find ways to apply that knowledge that make him smile). Ants like crusty honey and dead insects! (So they now get the dead flies I run across). 🙂 Practical application is a great thing to do.
Point C accepting correction if the learning didn’t happen well. My son had a spelling list to go through today. He forgot that consonants are doubled at the end of a word if they have a vowel in front of them. I corrected him and his response was “oh right mom, I’ll remember that for tomorrow”. Acceptance of correction. When I get mad at someone for cutting me off in traffic and I feel that inner tug on my spirit… that’s correction. My change in perspective is my acceptance of that correction.
When it’s hard
I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard you know? Like when I feel the tug that I need to do something different…. like trying to get poetry published (it’s a goal.. just one poem this year in a magazine of some sort)…but Oh….stepping out of one’s comfort zone. I don’t want to. I want to stay in the safe “maybe I’m good enough” zone.. instead of stepping out into the possible rejection zone. Just not sure I want to make that leap you know? It’s hard.
When I recall a lady on the crew saying she carried a bag of stuff with her to give to homeless people. I feel a tug that perhaps I should do the same. But don’t because of the what ifs…what if that person rejects the offer? What if they only want cash and dump out the offering. It’s hard.
Should we let the hardness stop us? I tell my lad that just because it’s hard to learn something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying. Perhaps the learning has to happen a different way. If you want it to happen though, it will. I need to take my own words to heart eh? To keep trying to learn new things (new blog anyone???) to not get stuck in my befuddlement and concern.
What’s the point?
The point is… learn. Keep learning. Keeping finding ways to apply what you learn. Keep working through your mess ups….because they will happen.
If God teaches you something from scripture… put it into practice, even if it’s hard. Find a way to hold to those truisms and don’t get locked into traditional ways of doing things. Take a risk with what you learn. It’s how we cement the knowledge gained.
So tell me, what steps do you take to maintain a teachable heart? What are you learning lately and have you figured out how to put it into practice?