We’ve all heard the popular saying, “practice makes perfect.” While this might be true in many aspects of life, there are two things I firmly believe can never be perfected, no matter how much we practice. One is medicine. Why do you think doctors call their places of business practices? Someone can practice medicine for 30+ years and become very knowledgeable in the subject but never perfect it because they’re always learning something new about it.
The second thing I believe can be practiced but never perfected is life in and of itself. Like medicine, life always presents us with something new to learn. We learn how to determine between right and wrong; healthy and toxic. We learn how to behave when encountering different situations. Learning is a never-ending cycle in life. But what’s more, we need to apply what we learn and allow ourselves to grow.
I recently read an article from Campus Ministry Today titled, “5 Practices of a Life-Long Learner” written by David Worcester of Compass Church in San Diego, California. He referenced an old metaphorical saying that basically means “Teach someone and they will learn something, but teach them to learn and they will learn for a lifetime.” But we already spend our whole lives learning so why or how does this matter? Here’s what I think Worcester is getting at: how we learn is what makes the difference, especially when it comes to living in a way that reflects Christ to those around us. Even more so for those of us who work in college ministry because if we’re not willing to learn, how can we expect our students to learn?
Worcester mentions that in order for us to learn, we need to be willing to make some changes in our everyday lives and routines; break some old habits and replace them with new ones that will help us grow. We need to choose between either just going through life or growing through life. “Growth almost always happens outside your comfort zone, it very rarely happens by accident, and usually costs you something.” To expand on his question for us, what are we willing to give up so we can grow up as disciples and disciple makers? Naturally, the answer will be different for everyone based on different lifestyles.
The second half of Worcester’s article presents us with a tool that he came up with to help teach us how to learn to grow. And what better method than an acronym called L.E.A.R.N.? The action steps, or practices, he gives us to utilize are the following:
Listen to wise people; Evaluate experiences; Ask questions; Read good books; Never stop learning.
For the sake of time, I'm going to wait and share more detail on each of these practices next week. In the meantime, the article is linked for your reading pleasure if you so choose.
Until then, I leave you with 1 Timothy 4:7-8
"...Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that is now and of that which is to come."