Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ, Making a Home, My Health Journey

A Lifelong Learner

There’s been some changes going on around here, mostly in my home, but other areas too. I’ve been painting everything. Well, a lot of things. I’ve painted my living and dining areas, my kitchen, kitchen cabinets, coffee table and other odds and ends.

I’ve had the same paint color on the walls since we moved into our house almost 14 years ago. I looked around a few months back and the color felt lifeless. I needed to brighten it up. I needed a change. So, that’s what I did. I made some changes, and I’m quite pleased with the results. It took planning, effort, elbow grease, some long days, and sore muscles, but it was worth it. Change takes work.

An older pic with my sweet boys. The color in the kitchen was Praline Cake.

 

New color, Greige, and still tweaking the decor.

 

I used to have this terrible habit. I would replay and say this same phrase over and over, “I don’t like change.” And for many years it was true. I didn’t like change. I would use this an excuse for pushing back at any “change” I thought might happen. As if I had some control over it.  Change meant things would be different. Change meant I didn’t know what would happen next. Change meant my illusion of safety in my little bubble of life would be compromised.

Trying to live life without change in an ever-changing world is miserable, because it’s not possible. We don’t have a say in the things that go on outside of us, and rarely do we have a say in things that happen to us. God is the only one who never changes. He is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”(Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17, Malachi 3:6)

And you know what? God likes change.

He likes it when we change and conform to the image of his son, Jesus. He makes this change possible through his Holy Spirit and a process called sanctification.  Sanctify means “to make holy.”

Something happened over the course of the last 10 years; I changed. I went from saying “I don’t like to change,” to saying “Change is good!” I did this both, in my head, and out of my mouth. And I believe it too. I still remember those fleeting moments of thinking I knew quite a bit about something, to realizing I know very little and almost nothing. There’s always room to learn more.

A Lifelong Learner

As God has been renewing my mind, I’ve been fascinated to discover that I love to learn. This surprised me since I never really cared for school. If it’s a subject that interests me, I can and want to learn more about it. This has really applied to every area of my life. Writing, theology, and health and nutrition are some of my favorites. This even carries over to things that are helpful to learn, but maybe I didn’t think would interest me. Things like budgeting, cooking, computer programs and DIY projects.

I now consider myself a lifelong learner. I had never thought in this way before. We all learn things every day, but the things we learn can either promote growth or encourage complacency and sameness. It’s important to learn with intention, meaning, know what you’re setting out to learn and make time to do it. It will cost you. It will cost you time. Time that may be currently taken up by mindless things like watching tv, scrolling fb, playing games, etc. Not that you can’t do those things, but the time you spend doing them is significantly less.

The reward for committing your time to specific learning is that you feel more satisfied, and can help and encourage others with the information you have, because you’ve taken the time to learn it. That is a great feeling.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Change means growth for the Christian. We’ve gone from death to life and we don’t remain the same, we can’t. Christ has accomplished this work for us, and we are living it out.

I like what Dr. Henry Cloud, author of great reads like Safe People and Boundaries (affiliate links, two books I highly recommend), says here:

“As people get older, those who continue learning things – from dancing to rock climbing to real estate – stay healthier and more alert. The mind’s ability to change is technically known as plasticity, and it means that our minds adapt and grow as we require them to. But if we don’t require anything of our minds, they begin to deteriorate. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle.

When you reach the end of your abilities is when you truly live. We were designed to change, try new things, fail, learn and become better people. Those individuals who have stopped reaching beyond themselves are those who have stopped living.”

If you are afraid of change, unwilling to change, or don’t know how to change, I encourage you to, first, seek the Lord. Matthew 6:33 admonishes us to “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This includes growth and learning. Start by reading your Bible, praying, and attending church. Regularly. Often. Even more than seems necessary. Listen to sermons online, they’re free. Read good theological books. Talk to your pastor and if you don’t have one, find one. (You can check out my “Resources” page for some excellent ministries that have both, online sermons, and books.)

When I first thought of being a lifelong learner it sounded strange and foreign to me, because most people don’t talk like that. But as I continue to learn, grow, and change, the idea seems exciting to me, not strange, but hopeful. I hope the idea will be the same for you.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 9:10

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