LIFE is the learning ground. As I like to say. Well, the fact that we don’t always enjoy such a humbling if not humiliating ride, as life is, ought to be compensated.
And that compensation is growth — over the lifespan — proving nonagenarians are also God-willed to grow. The test of growth, however, in what makes it God-willed, is it passes the dignity test. Growth ought to be a dignifying process, which is not to say that all learning protects and provides for our dignity. Perhaps the greater compensated growth is learning that occurs where our dignity is constantly humiliated, yet we’re somehow able to hold ourselves throughout so as not to be destroyed. Nonetheless, it’s no excuse for teachers to abuse their students!
That done, let me show you a process I’ve developed for reviewing a year’s progress. Ask these questions by spending a half day reflecting over them:
1. What have I learned about positive thinking, feeling, and emotions this year?
2. What have I learned about positive behavioural responses this year?
3. What have I observed as requiring further thought and improvement in key areas this year?
4. What do you have to say to the statement, “The learning’s not over yet”?
5. How will the next period (year) be better than this one, transferring present learnings into the future?
6. What definitive blessing have you been in others’ lives as you seek humbly to be ‘rationally preoccupied’ with others (i.e. in a moral way)?
7. What opportunities are present in the future to make life better in your sphere of influence?
Synopsis Behind the Above Questions
It starts and ends positively, as learning and reviewal processes, I believe, should be appreciative.
Question 1 is an inside job. Question 2 asks for times when we’ve ascended God’s will; when we’ve brought heaven to earth, and God by his Spirit has shown us the blessing we can be through our obedience.
We need to ask a question (three) that evokes God’s honesty for the changes required in our lives.
Question 4 is interesting. If we answer it honestly we find it a deeper question. It’s an invitation to a response of humility — to help us embrace the fact we often have little control over life. Question 5 asks for a response of potential application (understanding, love is truth in action).
Question 6, again, asks for a known response of past that has helped and healed others and not hindered them. The important context in question 7 is ‘sphere of influence’. We can only realistically create change or act in an environment we’re realistically in.
Having made space to reflect,
Now’s the chance to dig deep,
Pray God, reveal, so I collect,
Opportunities making my learning leap.
God’s compensation for a humbling season is the learning for growth that can happen no other way.
Growth is evidence of battles fought with ourselves, where we overcame and won.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.