In ten days we will embark on a trip we have dreamed of for most of our lives. We will be in Europe for a month visiting Scotland, England, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, and France. All in that order. It will be an intense time and I can only conjecture what God has planned for us there. I cannot even imagine it because we have never done anything like this before. You can read the previous 2 posts in this series here and here.
- We married off both of our daughters
- I regained my health almost completely
- We just welcomed our first grandchild, and the second is due in October
- We purchased a house so perfectly suited for us that we are constantly amazed
- Business is expanding and growing very well
- My relationship with my son is maturing and is incredibly fulfilling
We are incredibly thankful for all of this, especially in light of the preceding decade. During those years:
- We dealt with debilitating health issues
- Lost our business
- Lost our house
- Lost our church
- Lost our savings
- Lost 80+% of our belongings
- We were largely isolated from friends and family
Our lives have had periods of stark contrast, but through it all we have had what we needed. Looking at our recent events, and then looking back at the struggles, we are able to see God working for good in lives around us, in our circumstances and in us. We continue to strive to maintain a confidence during bad times and a healthy perspective in times of plenty.
Maturity & Humility
The ideas of maturity and humility mean different things to different people. Most people think of these attributes as something you achieve, like a rank or skill. Through my experiences since 2000, I have come to take a quite different perspective.
There is a reason the Bible discusses fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…) in terms of actions. To me maturity and humility are like cleanliness, a continuous process. If a clean, well-groomed person stops showering for a month, well, that’s probably enough of a picture for you. You do not achieve a state of cleanliness, it is something that requires continuous maintenance.
Likewise maturity and humility require the same maintenance. It is very possible to handle a situation in a perfectly mature or humble manner, and ten minutes later handle another situation shamefully. Where we get ourselves in major trouble is when we assume that we or someone else has “arrived” in these areas. I have witnessed regrettable decisions that were made because people were blindly following someone who was attributed a level of maturity they were not displaying. I can look back in my life and see times when I did such a thing.
Hand in hand with this concept of continuous maturity is being a lifelong learner. This a term that is in vogue in certain circles and identifies people who always want to learn. Like all monikers, it is not unusual for people to attribute it to themselves, even believe it, and the truth be far different.
For example, we interviewed for an office administrator at Oasis Digital this week. One of the candidates was emphatic about how important learning was and how they never intended to stop. So I naturally asked them what they had been learning this summer, seemed like an obvious question to me. The blank stare I received was incredibly ironic. They were committed in their mind to learning, growing, changing, but not doing it!
After the interview I had some time alone so I turned the question on myself. Fortunately I passed my own test. I have been learning to think more critically, discard unfair disapproval by others instead of carrying it, and how to do masonry work. There are some others, but it was good to clearly identify those.
What have you been learning this summer?