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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!


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