I have always loved learning.
From a young age I loved everything about school: the supplies, the friends, the challenge, the books, the tests, the papers – I could go on and on. But my absolute favorite thing about school, about growing up, has always been the opportunity to learn more. I never hold the same knowledge within me as the day before, because I am always given opportunity to learn.
A childhood season of learning could be measured by grades or school achievements. An adolescent season of learning could be measured by choices made. However, I feel as though the young adult season of learning could not possibly be measured. As I reflect specifically on the last four years – the college years – the best years – I find that I have learned so much academically as well as spiritually and emotionally and personally.
I once told a friend during one particular growing stage in the recent past that I felt as though I had spiritual/emotional/mental stretch marks from all that God was doing within me: teaching and growing me. Hear me in that all metaphors break down at some point, analogies fail to perfectly describe intent, but I feel the sentiment of stretch marks to be the best connotation for the growth I am getting at.
It happened fast. So fast I did not completely notice it happening until I looked back and was suddenly so much further along. It hurt. These stretch marks did not come without suffering or distress, but I value them deeply. I do not wish to ever miss the evidence of these stretch marks because they have made me who I am today: they have grown with me.
I have always loved learning, and I pray my heart continues to yearn to learn.
I could write forever about the lessons I have learned, just in the last four years, but as I reflect the largest lesson is this: peace is not accomplished by me.
I value control.
I want to know what exactly is happening and when.
I crave plans like an addict craves a fix.
I physically become unable to function when I feel out of control, overwhelmed, or unsure.
I do whatever I can to set my world right: I make lists, I double-triple-check details, I write assignments and dates on multiple calendars, I color-coordinate, I clean, I sort, I plan anything & everything.
I had not even realized how high a value I placed on control until more recently. It’s absurd, friends. (Seriously, laughable!)
In some place deeply seated within me, I feel as though I can be worthy if I simply organize enough, know enough, accomplish enough. I frantically search for peace through my own perfection.
Honestly, just today was my first full day at home since travelling for three weeks. Yesterday I cleaned the living areas of the house. Today I cleaned my bedroom, my laundry, and my closet. I was feeling so anxious – so restless and I knew if things were tidy I would feel better.
Then as I sat in my rocking chair, admiring my accomplishment of the day I did feel calm, but I also felt conviction. And in my conviction I looked up: directly across from my chair is a banner I made for a creative project in a class on the book of Romans. It has Romans chapter 5 verses 1-11 written in script with the main point of the pericope: peace through grace in bold font – and the conviction hit even harder. Here I was frantically trying to create my own “perfect peace,” when I have the most perfect peace in Christ because His grace has completely covered me: even at my worst His grace is greater and His peace is perfect.
It is little moments like these that serve as a gentle reminder that my place is in His grace, that peace is not accomplished by me and I am oh-so very thankful! For in moments like these I am reminded that I am still learning, still growing, still being transformed.
I look forward to how I continue to learn about peace (& all things) in the seasons to come, but today I wanted to share a little of what I have learned, because maybe you, like me, have always loved learning.