What you need to learn
Shoulders hunched, discouragement and defeat on his face, teary eyes lifted sadly, my little son told me he wanted to quit.
It was just too hard for him, and he couldn’t do it, he said. His math book was just too difficult and he needed to go back a grade level.
Then he cried.
I looked at him, too astonished to speak for a moment. This is a child who is precocious, intelligent, and studies eagerly. He had achieved the level he was in by his own efforts, not because of my expectations or any pushing.
For him to suddenly collapse with defeat was startling, especially when he had been doing really well!
What had happened?
Then I discovered that he had been flipping through his book to the sections near the end, when his current lessons are still in the first third of the book. When he had seen problems and difficult questions he was unable to answer or even understand yet, he had collapsed in overwhelm, discouragement, and defeat. He told himself he just wasn’t able to do it – he wasn’t smart enough. And then he believed it.
But he was nowhere near ready to take those problems on yet – he had a lot of lessons in between where he was now and what he would need to know by then!
And then it hit me:
How many times am I like that? How about you?
I can look ahead and see in the future the outline of a difficult problem or situation, and I freeze in fear. I have no idea of how to solve that problem! I don’t even know the first thing to do to address it!
And depression, discouragement, insecurity, and overwhelm set in. I listen to the story that I will never be able to overcome the challenge, or that when it comes I will drown in writhing defeat.
What if looking that far ahead in my current perspective was actually a major detriment to my progress?
Like my son, I am self-sabotaging my own success by comparing my abilities NOW with what I will need THEN – without factoring in my own significant change in the process.
He who began a good work in me is FAITHFUL to complete it (Phil 1:6). He will unceasingly work in my heart and life (so far as I allow Him to have the authority), and He will not allow me to skip any lesson that He knows I will need for success later on!
He is the most patient and best of Teachers, the most thorough and kind of all Guides and Counselors. His loving wisdom to know exactly what I need when and in what timing is something I can absolutely trust in.
And so can you.
I encourage you to look ahead – it’s what gives us inspiration and excitement! And carefully plan and excitedly dream and hopefully purpose.
But bring your wise and loving Teacher along with you in these moments. When you’re tempted to flip ahead too far and what you see overwhelms and scares you rather than inspires you, shut that flipping book.
Grab your Father’s comforting hand, climb up and listen to His heart, and trustingly ask Him what it is He wants you to learn NOW.
Ask for the faith to believe He will teach you in the way you learn best.
And ask for the teachable, soft heart to learn it well!
Then ask the same thing each day, for the rest of your life.
And I think by the time we each get to the thing that looked so scary, we will have an entire assortment of experiences and lessons and understanding that will give us a more solid foundation for facing the challenge well. And so we can hold onto hope!
Our God is filled with tender love, kindness and patience. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out (Matthew 12:20).
And I am certain that the next lesson He gives us is one that is one that He knows we are ready for. So we can wholeheartedly look in His face and smile, trusting Him to walk us through it well.
I hope you are well, my lovely friend. I will be praying that whatever lesson you and I face in this time finds us both with soft and teachable hearts, open hands, and trusting and uplifted outlooks.
Take a moment right now to tell God you trust Him. Ask for that teachable, soft heart. And thank Him for being such a patient and wise Teacher to help you learn what you need for today.
I’m so excited for us! Best school day ever.
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