We are all created with weaknesses, for in our weakness and need, we seek the Living Perfect one to inhabit our lives. To use us as his hands and feet, because we bungle when we use our own.
We’re also given gifts. When we believe, somehow the Holy Spirit entrusts to us gifts that we are able to develop here and one day lay at our Father’s feet as worship.
The thing is, the gifts are more like seeds. His Spirit sows those seeds into us, but we have to water it and develop it, and take care of it to make it grow.
I was an excellent student in school, partly because of my drive to be perfect, partly because of fear of not being perfect, and partly because learning brought me life. I loved to figure things out and create things.
After graduating and being a full-time mom, where there aren’t regular evaluations or tests to pass, I floundered for a bit, trying to figure out how to do things using self-imposed deadlines rather than meeting someone else’s deadlines.
I am still weak, and I still have gifts from God, but what do I do now, when no one is looking over my shoulder grading my progress and there’s no one who gives immediate feedback?
Here’s how you do it:
1. When you see a weakness or something you want to learn, tell someone. I find that this is very effective for me. I use my pride to help me here. Once I tell someone else, I don’t want to not follow through!
2. Do some research: try to find someone (a blog, a website, a book, a person you can talk with in person) who has expertise with whatever you’re wanting to learn. Really, classic books written by dead people can help you. No reason to reinvent the wheel. Stand on other’s shoulders.
3. Break your goal up into bite-sized chunks. Faithful in little, ruler over much. If you try to do too much at once you’ll be discouraged. Ask someone to help you break it up into chunks if you’re not sure how.
4. Put it in your schedule. A little bit at a time.
5. Be faithful. Don’t stop. Keep confessing and keeping your friends in the loop of your progress.
You know, accountability kind of gets a bad rap. When I think of that word I think of woodsheds, tears, and ultimatums. But if we use it to help us and we commit to really walking forward with people we love, then we are known more fully and people know better how to help us. If we think of accountability as our responsibility to expose our hearts to others around us, then we don't have to worry about being caught in sin. We tell others the the desires of our heart before they give birth to sin. When we expose ourselves to our friends, they can help us to move forward, even if the road seems rough. Each of us has a different road. But the body of Christ is there to help you.
Ok, enough with possibilities. I’ll give you an example.
Say I have a kid who won’t sit still during church (and there’s not an option of children’s church). What do I do?
1. Tell a friend. In this case I told my friend who has several children of her own and had dealt with the very same problem.
2. Research. She recommended a book to help me have more vision for church for my kids. I also got some good ideas for training my child how to sit still from another friend.
3. Chunk it up. I decided that I would have time set aside for this child to pretend that he was sitting during church. S/he would practice sitting in the chair alone starting for 5 minutes a day, and adding little by little until he could sit there for an hour by him/herself.
4. Schedule it. I decided that a great time during the day to do this would be while I was teaching math to some of my other kids. I had the timer and a chair ready right by the table I was teaching at.
5. Faithful. Child training, like anything else, requires faithfulness. Especially when training your children how to do something specific, if you’re not faithful, its confusing to the children, but if they know what the definition is and what the rules are, and even understand why they are doing something, you will both succeed!
Another random example:
Say I wanted to learn something new, like piano (you can put anything here). What do I do?
1. Tell a friend. I know that if I don’t tell someone, I won’t do it!
2. Research. What’s the best way to learn how to play the piano?
3. Chunk. How will I learn this? What steps am I going to take to get there? What is my goal for this week?
4. Schedule. When am I going to fit this in? How many minutes?
5. Faithful. It might take years, but if I practice 10 minutes a day, I’ll get there!
Here's my point: let other people help you! You can do a lot more when you share your needs with others and encourage each other to grow. Accountability isn't a check-off list or a scary thing: its a spring-board!
How do you learn to do new things? What are some things you’re wanting/needing to learn?