I am a firm believer in being a life-long learner.
A philosopher named Socrates was quoted for saying, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” As a visual person, I love this word picture. Basically, we never really arrive. There is no one point in our existence on earth where we have it all figured out. We are always stretching, growing, lengthening, and deepening the knowledge we gather along this journey called life. And what I think is most beautiful about that is how everything life has to offer us can kindle that flame.
Education can take a variety of forms. While classrooms, textbooks and research papers shouldn’t be discredited, they’re not the only vehicle for learning to take place. As a matter of fact, every life experience I can think of is an opportunity to learn something new or develop the knowledge we have––if we choose to recognize, analyze and maximize them.
Being aware of what is happening in and through us is the foundation for understanding how God wants to use the moments that make up our journey. Proverbs 23:12 shows us that the first step is ours: “Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.” It’s ready and available for us, but we have to choose to stop and make an effort to obtain it. God has the ability to teach us through anything and everything. It’s our job to believe that nothing is too insignificant for Him to use, and learn to recognize those things when He does.
I know you’re probably thinking, What?! That’s what I’m told to do less of… But check this out! Analysis is a tool that can help us make the most of each opportunity when used correctly. Over-analyzing situations can get us into some trouble, especially as women, but taking a good look at the components of an experience through the filter of God’s Word can help us process those same situations in a healthier light. Really lay out all the pieces out before God, and ask Him to show you what really matters. More often than not, He can show our hearts something that teaches us how to be better. He placed His own Spirit inside of us to help coach us to greatness. And since God is in the details, from creation to your life story, there is so much He wants to teach us as we live out our days here on Earth. We only need to develop the habit of setting all things––big and small––before Him with a heart to learn.
We learn to help us become better. Whatever your craft is, you study that area to gain more knowledge to improve how you do that craft. Whoever you believe you’re made to be, you may look to people with similar traits or habits to develop strengths in that area. The end game of knowledge is always action. Knowledge that sits and goes unused will die out like a flame that is not kindled. To maximize the learning process, we’ve got to put knowledge to work—when we do, we actually create more opportunities to fine-tune what we’re learning. It’s a pretty incredible cycle with no limitations. God is able to provide knowledge and wisdom in unlimited supply if we choose to receive and leverage that which He gives us.
Knowledge is vibrant and present as long as we are alive and willing to receive it. There will never be a day when we know it all, but a key to constant growth is constant learning. By learning to be better learners, we are kindling the flame that makes us sharp, keeps us relevant, and propels us into becoming all that we were created to be.