This post is going to be a time of confession. If you're uncomfortable with that, then I'm sorry. If you're just plain nosy (like I am), you'll probably get a kick out of it. By the way, my saying that I'm nosy wasn't meant to be a confession, but I guess it was. Anyway, on to the real confessions ...
I was the weird kid that loved school. I idolized my teachers. I liked studying. I liked making good grades. I always put out the extra effort. I read ahead ... studied for tests early ... raised my hand to answer the questions. I even played school during the summer and on weekends! Basically, I was the one who always wanted to excel and make the best grades ... and be the teacher's favorite, of course. Learning was fun for me.
Hmmmm. Learning was fun for me. I'd love to say that's still the case, but it's not totally true anymore. I thought when I graduated my learning was over. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at that last statement. How I WISH that I had come with a handwritten note from God that said I would continue to learn and be taught all of the days of my life. It would have been nice to have been prepared! Oh yeah, I did. It's called the Bible. Anyway, I like to say that I haven't been prepared for the constant learning and teaching that God does with me.
And I have to confess another weird fact about myself. I tend to think in parables. I told you that I liked to learn, right? Most of the time anyway. Well, more times than not during the day, something will happen and I'll think to myself, "Hmmmm. What is the lesson here?" and my mind will whirl and work to see what I can learn from what just happened ... or what I just saw. Yes, I admit it. I'm a learning-addict. I need to start a support group for other like-minded people. "Hello, I'm Diana and I'm a learning junkie." Example: Wes and I were driving home from church and I made a comment about how green the grass looked after our recent rains when it had been sun-browned just a few days before. Immediately, I thought of the verse about how God's teaching is like dew on the grass. I'm just like that grass in times of my life -- sun-browned, dried out, and then I hear a word from Him and I'm revived and brought to life again, just like the grass is after a recent dew or rain. So, that's an example of my parable-type, always learning mind. My poor family has heard enough of these parables over the years that they don't even blink twice anymore. "Poor Mom. Thinking in parables again. God love her."
The thing is ... I love those simple lessons. I love looking at nature and seeing what God wants to teach me. I love learning from things other people say or do. I love reading God's Word and seeing new and different things. In fact, I'd be extremely grateful and happy if those would be the ONLY ways that God would teach me. On the other side, I'd be even happier and MORE grateful if lessons never had to hurt, were always easy, and didn't require any real work on my part. This is where the not-liking-to-learn comes in for me.
Strangely enough, there are many, many simple lessons throughout my day where my parable-thinking mind comes in to play: like why you have to thin a peach tree of the good fruit so that the branches don't break, of the necessity of a butterfly having to struggle to get out of a cocoon, of the memory of walking in my father's footsteps after a heavy snow so I didn't struggle through the huge drifts (I'll let you think on those and come up with your own lessons. Maybe God will teach you the same way He taught me!!). There are many more things that come to my mind, but honestly -- I tend to forget them just as quickly as I think of them. They're good little lessons, and I'm grateful for God's Spirit pointing them out to me and taking the time to teach me ... but they're still easily forgotten.
It's those stinking painful lessons that I always remember. Those are the ones that usually require tears, much prayer, heartache, grief, humility, and a total sense of "I can't do this"!! The times that God has shown me that I SAY I've forgiven someone but we both know I haven't, and I need to ... the times that I'm trying to control my life, my families' lives, the postman's life, the store cashier's life, your life (you get the picture) and I see I HAVE no control ... the times when God instructs me to step out in faith and do something (like forgive, or relinquish control) and I snap back that I'm uncomfortable with that and I don't want to. Yup, those kinds of lessons. The ones I don't like. The lessons that I prefer to not have to deal with, particularly when I've already had to deal with those exact same lessons before. Uhm, excuse me. I've already learned this lesson. How many times is this particular thing going to be on the test? Yes, I know -- until I get it right.
It all boils down to the fact that God is faithful. He's promised to be my Teacher for every moment of my life. He doesn't let a single thing go by that can't be used to better our relationship and to help teach me. (More parables courtesy of Diana for you to think on: small children who insist on dressing themselves when it's obvious that someone bigger can do the job better; the people of Gotham City who had the "hotline" to Batman, who could "fix" all things; the importance of actually unfolding and following the road map instead of just having it.) And He loves all of those teachable moments -- from the peach trees and grass, to the forgiveness and control. My prayer is that my heart will always be sensitive to His Word and His Spirit. When I feel like I'm not learning anything anymore, it's a danger sign to me. The older I get, the more clearly I see that there are so many things I need to be taught, even if those lessons aren't particularly welcome and they're painful. At the same time, I'm yoked with a wise Teacher Who is faithful and desires to do just that -- teach.
So, yes, I admit it. I still like learning. I'm a parable-thinker. But it's my prayer that you're the same way. I'd LOVE to have you share with me some of your parables and lessons that God has taught you ... for the learning junkie in me!