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Monday
Apr182011

teachability

A week before I left for my very first site visit to Kenya, I got together with the 2 guys that would be traveling with me. Since they had been to Africa before, I wanted to get information on what I should pack and any other last minute details, so we met over lunch at a Japanese Steakhouse. I had worked with Ben over the past year, so I knew him fairly well; and I had been introduced to Blake before, but we never really had the chance to talk until then.

That's why I was caught off guard when, as we sat around a hibachi grill that day, he said to me:

"Just don't act like you know everything on this trip. Don't pretend like you already knew something when you didn't. And even if somebody's telling you something you already know, just listen."

I'm pretty sure I reacted compliantly, but inside I was thinking... 

"Why is this guy saying this to me? I'm not arrogant. I'm capable of learning things...and I'll show him that he didn't need to say that to me. After all, I'm a natural learner...all of my strengths tests tell me that. I like to learn things, he just doesn't know that. He probably just says that to everyone."

This conversation happened three years ago. And this is what I've learned since it happened:

1) I am arrogant.

2) I like the IDEA of learning more than embracing the actual process.

3) I am really good at pretending to know something. 

4) I am really bad at letting people teach me things and acknowledging that they are, in fact, teaching me something.

After I got to know Blake better, I asked him if he had seen something in me that caused him to say that. I was hoping that he would say, "No, I just say that to everyone before trips." But he didn't. Apparently my lack of teach-ability is easy to discern when you first meet me.

Since this time, God has asked me, on numerous occasions, if I would let Him be the all-knowing one in our relationship. He's asked me to be silent. He's asked if I would allow Him to soften my heart. I'd like to say that I've said "yes" to every one of those requests...but sometimes it takes a wrestling match before I do.

I share this story with you because I believe that being teachable is important. Having an attitude of humility is one of the most attractive things a person can possess, with God and with others. This isn't to be mistaken with being easily influenced by the world and the opinions of men, as God's Word sheds light on the difference between truth and lies.

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