Learning to Lean
It started out as a typical Thursday morning here at the QuietWaters Ministries HQ. I began the morning looking for the devotion book that we have been using for our weekly Staff Infection (a/k/a staff meeting). The morning continued with me contracting a severe case of conviction.
We have been using a book written by a local pastor friend of mine, Jason Lohse, for our weekly study. The book is titled Expresso – Devotional Readings to Energize Your Faith. Each week, we pass the book around so a different staff person can lead. I was looking for the devotion book as I had planned on leading that morning. After looking in each neat pile in my office, I had to confess to everyone that I couldn’t find our book. In a sense, I had to admit that my crack filing system was flawed. But…you can’t file what you don’t have! The previous week’s leader, Joe, had absconded with it! Vindication! I was off the hook, or so I thought. Joe handed the book off to Stacie who prepared our devotion from the section titled Trusting God. The verse from Expresso was Romans 15:13, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
So far, so good. A great verse, right? As Stacie continued to read she came to a sentence in the next section where Pastor Lohse wrote, “Wisdom calls us to learn, but trust calls us to lean, not on our preparation, but on His provision.”
Wham! From a nice Thursday Staff Infection devotion to a serious case of conviction. Am I passionate about learning because I am too self-reliant? Has the gift of learning become a hindrance to my faith? Has the wisdom gleaned from learning overshadowed my heart? Am I failing to trust and to lean? I don’t think I could concentrate on anything else but that sentence and learning to lean for the next 10 minutes.
“…trust calls us to lean…on HIS provision…”
Have you ever been sitting in a sermon when the pastor goes from preachin’ to meddlin’? When you know that your pastor is looking right through the person in front of you and right into your personal space. They seem to be speaking just to you. (Side Note: If you are a pastor reading this, just know that sometimes your messages speak to us in these ways. Thanks for “meddling” in our lives.)
So, that’s the kind of conviction I felt. A meddlin’ kind of conviction. But why? Why did such a simple sentence have such a startling impact? For me, I think it has to do with the fact that I have done a lot of self-study, personality tests, coaching, and other assessments. As a Myers Briggs ENTJ, I have been told (and I believe it is a true statement) that I “have a thirst for knowledge and enjoy utilizing it in the world around me.” In 2001 Gallup came out with a New York Times best seller titled, Now Discover Your Strengths. Through the online assessment they give provide you with your top 5 strengths. Out of 34 possibilities, one of my top 5 is Learner. Most recently, I was blessed to meet Steve Tonkin and go through the assessment that he uses as a basis for his Integrated Life program. This evaluation is based on a Romans 12 model (pertaining to gifts in verses 6 to 8) and one of my top “Motivational Gifts” is that which is titled Teacher. Under this model, a Teacher pursues knowledge and understanding about things in which they are curious.
Learning is something that is part of my own Life Objective Statement. It is part of what excites me and brings me joy and fulfillment. Learning is part of my own personal DNA. I embrace it. I love it. I have been convicted by it…
Trusting and leaning does not come as easily. Why? I don’t know. It should. I know God is faithful. He always has and will continue to provide for my every need. He hears my every plea, He answers every prayer, and delights in every praise. I am thankful for this virus called conviction.
Thank you God for gifting me with a learner’s heart. May my heart always be open to learning and leaning on Your provision.
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