“I never was keen on learning.” My favorite, too-funny quote from a young woman who grew up as a missionary kid, explaining why teaching was not her calling. She had been pressed into service when the school was short-staffed, and we were all relieved when a teacher was found to take her place. 

Conversely, I think of myself as a person who loves learning. And that teaching is integral to my identity, in whatever circumstances I find myself. But…correction is different. I like to do things right and be applauded for the product. Not sent back to the drawing board with red marks on my paper. Start over, do more, adjust course, try again. 

She obeyed no voice,
She accepted no discipline.
She did not trust in the Lord,
She did not approach her God. 
Zephaniah 3:2 (NASB)

I loved Sharon Chubbuck’s teaching “Learning Never Ends,” and there was a part that bothered me. After devoting years to learning and teaching about racial issues, she is still being challenged and corrected and humbled. She welcomes this graciously, I imagine. But I don’t want to! (a favorite middle-school refrain.) I don’t welcome the process of being corrected.

A friend in seminary shared the Six Key Qualities of Spiritual Formation with me; the first one she mentioned was humility. “Ugh,” I said. The conversation lingers in my mind weeks later.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. African Proverb

I like to speed ahead. But, with a deep breath, I am learning that things worth doing well often take time. Working together takes far longer than doing things on our own. But we can’t get where we need to go alone; we need to go together. 

Perhaps the secret to listening, obeying, accepting discipline- is trust. And approaching God in the midst of our mistakes. Expecting not shame, but love. Forgiveness and acceptance. Eagerness to help us learn a new and better way. The path of life and righteousness. The journey on that road is a process to embrace, not an easy-A outcome. 

For then I will restore to the peoples pure lips,
So that all of them may call on the name of the Lord,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder. 
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
My worshipers, My dispersed ones,
Will bring My offerings.

Zephaniah 3:9-10 (NASB)

I love this image of serving side-by-side. Unity with those who are coming from a very different place. So, I will keep learning. Even if it occasionally means correction. I reached out to my friend Emily McKown, and she shared her beautiful final project on spiritual formation: Who are the spirits among us? a video poem. It may bless you as well. 

I have hope, for myself and for this fellowship, that together we will go far. Indeed, we are still learning.  


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