You and I were created to learn. Our brains work such that, from the very moment our eyes open to the world we begin to observe, comprehend, explore, and makes sense of what we see. Young children do this without giving it a second thought. Not only are we made to learn but I believe, deep down, we all enjoy learning. We like gaining understanding about the world, others, and ourselves.
But somewhere along the road we stop. Often what keeps us from learning, and enjoying learning, is some experienced where, in our learning, we were shamed.
We didn’t get it right and were told we were stupid.
People laughed at us.
Someone didn’t believed in us.
We were labeled.
And the joy was sucked out of learning. Worse than that, it became painful.
So we stopped learning. Or we refuse to learn in front of others. Many of us try and do things only if we know we won’t fail. Going through life becomes a big exercise in doing only the things that will make us look good, or at least won’t make us look bad because we know learning, trying on new ideas and taking on new skills, comes at a risk. Rather than taking the risk, we just avoid it.
I’m learning – and learning in public. I began this blog with the intent of continuing to learn. Writing is a means by which my ideas become more real to me. Once the words hit the screen they become more than just something I feel. I can see them, and by seeing them, I know what I think.
But I diverted from that. Let me be the first to admit that I got caught up in suddenly having a “platform.” So I blogged, not about what I was learning and what God was forming in me, but against others. And listen, that get’s you traffic. When you jump into the fray during a social media storm, you will get some traffic and it is fun to watch the numbers rise. It is. No way around it. It is fun. It feels good. It feels affirming.
But it is so dangerous to your soul. Oh, so dangerous.
Writing in such a way that people will want to read what you write is a talent. Talent will build a platform. Talent will build a church. Talent will make an organization successful. Talent can make a lot of things happen.
But talent does not equal character.
We all know this. How many pastors are talented in all the ways necessary to build a church but their character is lacking? Or CEO’s? Or presidents of non-profits? Behind their “success” is a wake of bodies, broken relationships, and questionable practices. So it is easy to see that talent and character are not related. You can maximize the use of your talents to their fullest and neglect your character.
The other day I blogged about a tweet that garnered a lot of a response in Christian social media circles. The blog post was less than gracious to the originator of the tweet, and for that I apologize. I stand by the theology and conclusion of the post, but the manner and tone of the post is not who I want to be. I need to acknowledge my error for the sake of soul.
So I’m learning. In public. Which is hard. But I think the risk is worth it.
What are you learning?