The Humility of Learning

People often say 'You learn something everyday'. That may be true to a degree like when I finally try a new bus route in desperate frantic need to get somewhere, or I download the new "best app", but when was the last time you really learned something completely new?

About a year ago I decided I wanted to be an artist. My first error was deciding I wanted to be an artist instead of first deciding that I wanted to learn how to paint. I bought all the supplies, sat down, poured some wine and in about an hour I was over it. I loved painting, but I was over the simple fact that at the end of my first creation, I was not an artist at all but instead was one baby step into the journey of learning how to paint. 

This humility is something I desperately needed. Why did I instinctively skip the desire to learn and resolve to instantly be? I could blame it on the millennial mindset of instant gratification or point my finger at tech's impact on delayed gratification, but it was far more simple than that. It took me awhile to say it out loud, but I was faced with classic pride. When learning is stripped way down, it stands there humble in all its beauty. Wrapped up in learning is patience, taking critique, failing, lots (and lots) of crumbled up paper. I pouted, 'gave up', bought fancier supplies all to make me feel better, but nothing and no one besides myself and simple practice was going to make me an artist.

As I was writing this I remembered when I was about 10 and learning how to do a back handspring for cheerleading. I remember crying because I didn't get it the first time I tried. I cried. Seriously? Because I could not flip backwards and land on my feet the first time I tried?! I am sure that was not the beginning of my stubbornness to skip learning, but I have watched it manifest throughout my life. On my honeymoon for example, I got so ridiculously upset when Tim and I got into a fight because I thought that day 2 of marriage I would be the perfect wife and I had a harsh realization that I wasn't- not even close. I had to learn how to be a wife. I am still learning everyday. It wasn't until I humbled myself and started telling Tim 'I don't know how to love you best right now' that we really found the unity and safety in marriage that I was seeking day 2.

I am still not an artist, but I'm learning. Painting has become so worshipful to me because I am choosing to step into the humility, patience and discipline it requires. It slows me down and it is at this pace that I truly enjoy the journey. After all, the Christian life is learning to think and love like Jesus. God delights in crumbled up papers and tears if it means we are putting in the patience in diligence to holiness and true joy.