A couple of years ago, I attended a writer’s conference. On the first night, after the main session, I approached one of the editors to ask about her breakout sessions the following day. She answered my question and we chatted for a minute. The following morning, she was in the hallway outside my hotel room when I stepped out to get breakfast. We greeted each other again and chatted for another moment.
Later in the day, between breakout sessions, I was signed up for a short meeting with this same editor. After assuring her that I was not stalking her, I waited while she read the writing samples I’d brought with me. I’d carefully chosen several different pieces, demonstrating different styles and lengths I’d written for different medias.
After reading them, she offered her feedback and gave suggestions for what her publication looks for. Then she said, “You’re teachable,” and explained that it’s one of the highest compliments she gives.
Being teachable means we want to keep learning, no matter what our interests are. It means we’re not afraid to step out of our comfort zone to try new things. And it says we’re not so full of ourselves that we can’t take constructive criticism because we think we already think we know everything.
That compliment made me smile and I kept thinking about it long after the conference. I want to be teachable, not just in writing, but in life.
I want to be teachable in following Jesus. Don’t you?
3 Ways To Be Teachable In Our Faith Life
1.) Spend time with the teacher.
Just like we probably won’t pass a class if we don’t show up or look at any of the material, how can we learn from Jesus if we don’t spend any time with Him?
The disciples walked away from their lives to spend time with Jesus.
“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.
“A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
Matthew 4:18-22 NLT
I’m not suggesting that we leave everything we know like they did, but I am suggesting we intentionally make time to spend with our Teacher. Some days are ridiculously busy and we’re worn out (I get it. I’m working on this too.), but even a few minutes makes a difference.
An honest heart-to-heart with God in the pick-up lane at school, or however long you have while dinner is in the oven to open your Bible (and for me, my journal).
When my daughter says she’s going to hang in her room, one of my first thoughts is sitting down with my Bible study. (The other thought is cleaning, but I’m choosing the quiet study time.)
Planned time with God works for many people. Sometimes it works for me, but sometimes it doesn’t. So, I’m trying to be intentional about choosing Him over other things I think need to be done. The more I choose Him, the more I want to choose Him.
2.) Be open to trying something new or doing something a different way.
“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.’
“‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.’ And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.”
Luke 5:4-7 NLT
Simon Peter and the disciples with him were fishermen by trade. Surely, they knew the best time, location, and way to catch fish. Maybe he wouldn’t have taken fishing advice from just anyone, but Jesus is not just anyone.
Don’t we often think we know the best way, or think it hasn’t worked before; it’s not going to work now? Being teachable is not getting stuck in what we think is the best or only way. It is being willing to try again in a new or different way.
3.) Don’t give up, but know that everything we try might not work out.
I don’t know how much money I spent years ago on stamps and stamping tools before I admitted that making my own cards just wasn’t for me. I wanted to like it; kept trying to like it. My friends lovingly make gorgeous cards, and I got caught up in thinking I should be able to do it too. But, just because I tried it doesn’t mean I was good at it.
It wasn’t wasted time though because I learned something new and I kept trying. And because I know what goes into card making, I have a greater appreciation for hand-made cards sent to me in the mail. I keep them because I know someone spent their time and talent to let me know they care.
Trying something might reveal a talent we didn’t know we had, or it can lead us to something different we never considered trying. Trying one thing and then another is part of the process of learning and discovering.
God may have us working towards something in ways that don’t make sense to us, but are part of His grand plan. Being teachable means we’re willing to follow His lead, recognizing there are things He wants us to learn along the way, and knowing that at some point, we’ll be able to look back and see that the journey was necessary to get to the destination.
Do you consider yourself teachable? If not, what steps can you take to becoming teachable?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Do you struggle when it comes to being teachable, or are you willing and ready to learn?
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