Skip to main content

It is a 'process' thing

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. (Winston Churchill)

How many of us are like Churchill - liking it when we actually learn something new, but really dreading the whole bit about being taught that lesson? It is nice to discover something new, but it is a little more difficult for us to accept when that discovery comes with a bit of hard work, isn't it? I used to ace tests, but recently had the opportunity to sit with my eldest grandson who is struggling with Algebra II in high school. I did pretty well in this subject back about 50 years ago! Today, it is like I am having to relearn all the principles again in order to remember how to solve those equations and it is HARD work! I don't know about you, but when something is that 'hard' in life, I tend to resist it a little. When life lessons are 'hard', it is not uncommon for us to want to just bury our heads in the sand, or run from them completely. The 'process' of being taught is what we resist, not the lesson.

My son, if you receive my sayings and store up my teachings within you, make your ear open to wisdom. Turn your heart to understanding. If you cry out to know right from wrong, and lift your voice for understanding; if you look for her as silver, and look for her as hidden riches; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find what is known of God. For the Lord gives wisdom. Much learning and understanding come from His mouth. (Proverbs 2:1-6)

If you have hung around with me now for any time at all, you know I am a 'process' person. In other words, I see things in terms of the 'steps' we have to take to accomplish what needs to be done. That isn't a problem if my 'steps' all line up with the 'process' as God has designed it! It becomes a problem when I want to add or take away steps in the process - because then it changes the entire process and the lesson being taught may actually produce a different 'learning' than God prepared for us. If you don't believe me, think about the last time you were 'disobedient' in some sense. It may have been when you knew you should have kept your mouth shut, but you just couldn't. You found yourself jumping in and perhaps you stumbled along a while, words just 'falling' out of your mouth. When it was all 'said and done', you had some 'mop up' work to do. What lesson was learned? Perhaps you learned the 'mop up' is harder than just not saying anything at all!

The plan is for obedience. The actions required are 'systematic' - there is a process to obedience. We listen and then respond appropriately. Just like with the algebra equation - I cannot just jump in and say 'x' equals this or that. I have to understand the 'process' of which parts of the equation get solved and in what order they are solved. Obedience in my daily walk isn't much different. I need to understand which parts of today's issues are mine to 'solve' and which ones are not. If I add in the ones that aren't mine, the equation gets messy! Obedience or 'learning' requires a listening ear, but it also requires a submissive heart and mind. To always want my own way - solving problems by my own methods - will only complicate my life and yours!

The process is not always well-defined from the beginning. Sometimes we need to step back and just wait for the process to reveal itself a bit. Yet, even when the process is somewhat clear, we aren't to just rush that process - we need the wisdom of God to see how the rest of the process will be revealed and worked into what he has begun within us. If we are intent on following our own processes, we will frequently miss the 'simpler lessons' God brings in life. We have a tendency to 'complicate' our processes. If you don't believe me, try writing out how it is your car actually starts each day! To put is simply, I have the key fob close enough to the ignition switch, my foot on the brake, and my finger depressing the ignition switch. Is that the entire process? Absolutely not! There are lots and lots of other 'working parts' to this process, but we don't always see or understand them fully. We 'trust' them to work together, don't we?

Why is it that we have a hard time trusting God to 'work together' the processes of our lives? I think it comes from us not being willing to learn 'according to the process' he designs. We figure our plan mixed with his might just make things easier or quicker. I have to ask - how's that been working for you? For me, not so well! Instead of trusting God to reveal his plan, I charge ahead. God doesn't always want us to just 'hang around' while he puts all the pieces together in our lives, but he doesn't want us messing with the process either! Obedience is a 'process thing', equally as much as disobedience is a 'failure to follow the process' thing! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,