Two entirely different walks of life... intersected and on the same journey...which walk has the greater potential to grow?
Andrew and I love to debate. This was our most recent debate. (Quite loud and heated I might add.) We were debating which of us has the greater potential to grow in our journey here at Hillsong College. How we got on this debate... I'll never know (seriously). Here were some of our conclusions:
Experience teaches you things. You learn from good experiences and you learn from bad experiences:
You see, Andrew comes to the table with far more life experience than me. (He has a whole 6 years on me!) He has had time to form ideas and lay foundations while experiencing the world and it’s great roller coaster of excitements and disappointments.
Admittedly some of his ideas and foundations were forged by hurt and framed by wisdom. Many were shaped by the bible while a great majority were formed by experiences in his life.
It's almost a bit of a cycle: live life, experience things, learn from your experience and form foundations around what you learn.
Foundations are what you stand on. It’s the basis on which you live your life.
I have had six less years to build up to everything Andrew has accumulated so far. I have a lot of foundations to lay. I get to learn heaps by being here (in Australia). I get to build foundations straight from the bible, sometimes skipping over the experience step. There definitely are experiences for me to learn from, but I'm in school where I'm learning at a faster rate than my experiences are teaching me. I am getting to align things to the word and spirit of God.
What I do perceive is more life experience = more pre-laid foundation.
Acquiring new knowledge, setting new foundations, forming new ideas… learning causes us to grow. But, something else that causes you to grow (besides age, genetics and eating) is unlearning. Unlearning? yes. Unlearning.
There is something that needs to be nailed to the inside of every heart: your experiences cannot hinder your growth. You may just have to do a bit of unlearning. What I mean by this is: in every experience you learn. Yet sometimes, in life, the things we learn aren’t always the kinds of things that we should build our ‘houses’ on.
We must first unlearn the ‘sand’ foundations to learn the ‘rock’ foundations.
It can be painful at times. It requires self awareness, humility and wisdom to admit what is truly ‘sand’ and what is truly ‘rock’. But, God is pretty cool about helping you sort that out. If you let him, of course. The longer you stay stubbornly on the sand… the more painful it is to unlearn.
Something we need erased from our hearts is the idea that unlearning things is a bad thing. Because I think it's quite the contrary, I think it's a necessary thing.
Oswald Chambers says it like this:
"It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud (trial) He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud (trial) is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own soul... Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?"
This thought has sat with me for a few years now… I really believe God has a mission of helping us unlearn in order to grow a better understanding of Him. Seems contradictory? Redundant? It isn't. It is not necessarily about emptying a cup to fill the same one up again...
It is about getting rid of sandy foundations that we have picked up through experience that are unaligned to God’s word. It is about building houses on foundations made from rock. It is about getting to grow in a relationship with God, to the point where it is exactly as simple as that of a child. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
So, Andrew and I are both on a journey of learning and unlearning - growing at the same rate. To unlearn is to grow and to learn is to grow. One just has to be mindful of what God may be teaching you.
Ps: In our debate we eventually pulled out markers and drew it out. Good debaters make good couples, am I right? :)