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Lifelong Learning

This is the second installment of my short series on my current life lessons.

Lesson #2: Being a life-long learner is harder than it sounds.

I had a realtor once.  Nice lady with short, pouffy black hair and snappy clothing.  Couldn’t tell you what her pitch was, or even her name.  But she made a comment to me that stuck.  “I am committed to being a life-long learner,” she told me with a confident smile.

Her comment intrigued me.  Here was this sharp, put-together middle-aged woman telling me she was committed to growth.  I don’t know at the tender young age of 30 that I necessarily understood the implications of that statement, but I liked the sentiment and have said the same ever since.

Fast forward to ME becoming the middle-aged woman.  Dang, this life-long learner stuff isn’t for the faint of heart!  It’s not just continuing to learn about things that interest me.  That stuff is easy.  It’s about embracing the wide-sweeping changes of technology and society, of making space to formulate informed and educated decisions and not just going with the status quo of what I’m used to.  It’s about not letting the changes to my body stop me, or to allow the challenges I’ve endured to make me bitter.

Sometimes I want easy, you know?

I want everything to lay out in a rosy pathway before me, to have doors magically open.  But God doesn’t work that way.  Never has.  He is constantly working throughout time and space to mold and shape me into something more, and that requires work on my end.

It’s a never-ending process, one that keeps drilling down deeper and deeper into the lies I have knowingly and unknowingly embraced about who I am and how I’m meant to function, and replacing them with what is beautiful and true.  Including the lie that you can’t teach old dogs’ new tricks.

But here’s the thing: I believe God is bigger than my challenges.  Why?  Because I have seen his faithful blessing again and again in my life when I choose trust.  I remember the painful bruises from running hard in the wrong direction.

So, I have chosen to recommit to being a Joshua vs. a Gideon.  See, Joshua and Gideon both made history for the Lord.  They both chose to overcome their deep-rooted fear and follow God’s leading.  But Gideon faltered later on in life.  He created a golden ephod, something only priests should wear.  Perhaps he felt like he had done a lot and he “deserved” it.  Maybe a part of him wanted to make sure he wasn’t forgotten.  Who knows?  But Judges 8:27 tells us, “Gideon made the gold into an ephod…all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it…and it became snare to Gideon and his family.”

Joshua, on the other hand, entered the last part of his life with faith.  He stood tall before the people in Joshua 23-24, reminding them of all the incredible victories they had experienced through faith.  He challenged them to not grab hold of empty gods with their empty promises.  Then he wraps it all up with, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  And shortly thereafter he dies.  Pretty powerfully way to go!

There are many, many men and women of faith who experienced richer blessings later in life by remaining faithful to the Lord when things got tough.  Moses is probably the most well-known.  He didn’t begin to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt until he was in his 80’s!  I have no excuse not to embrace joy, to trust God through the seasons, knowing he will empower me with strength to the end.  My job is simply to continue to lean into him, trusting that what he calls me to will keep me from growing complacent and ineffective in my faith.

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT How about you?  What are the lies that can creep into your mind and make you forget all that the Lord has done?  A great scripture that I find helpful is Revelations 2:4-5, “You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first.”  This reminds me how important it is to remember all the ways the Lord has been faithful so I can stand firm to the end.

This week, consider writing down all the blessings you have in your life, and all the ways God has shown up for you to move you onward.  It will take time, but it will be worth it!  Add to it moving forward.  Then whenever your thoughts start to invite you to be less than God made you to be, you can take that list out and remind yourself of what is true.  Already do that?  Committed to trying this?  I would love to hear about how it’s helped you or how it goes by having you post on our FACEBOOK PAGE.

PRAYER Father, thank you that you choose to keep me thriving and growing.  Stagnation isn’t from you, and it isn’t how you crafted me to live.  When I’m tempted to complacent in my life and in my faith, would you remind me of how much more you still have in store for me?  Would you help me to remember that all I have ahead is blessing, culminating in the reward of heaven once my days are through?  Teach me to number my days, Father, just as you have taught me to do, so that I remember that when the day’s challenges seem long, they are actually short compared to eternity with you.  I love that you aren’t finished with me yet, and that you are committed to growing me all the way to the end!  May I walk in gratitude and be a green branch of faith all the way till the end.  Amen. 


BARBARA LOWNSBURY is an author, entrepreneur, and single mother of three.  She serves as the Executive Director for The Dented Fender ministry.  Follow Barb and The Dented Fender community on Facebook and Instagram.

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