Archive for August, 2011

Accepting the Process of Learning

For years I’ve used a statistics programming language called SAS to crunch and summarize data for my job.  A coworker, Sam, taught it to me way back in 2002 when I first started working for my current boss.  I’d done only a little basic programming before and had a tough time, not only learning the language, which has many quirks, but also accepting the process of learning it.  Sam always knew when to come help me because I’d get so frustrated with the program I was writing that I’d be talking to my computer in our shared office.

I had almost a personal vendetta with SAS, convinced that somehow “it” didn’t want me to succeed.  In reality, though, it was me who was sabotaging my own success.  I was fighting the process of learning – that process where we come up against a problem, search for a solution, try something new, bump around, and eventually learn how to solve or at least get around the problem.  Over the years, I did eventually become proficient with SAS, using it sometimes daily.  But it was a rough road at times.

Earlier this year, we decided that the annual license fee for SAS was just becoming too expensive for us to continue using it.  So, I set about learning a new programming language, R, a free package.  This time, however, I have learned and grown enough personally to accept the process of learning this new language.  And it is much less of a struggle!  Do I get frustrated when I can’t figure out how to get my program to do what I want it to do?  You bet!  But I let that frustration drive me into the learning process instead of fighting it.  And because of this, my personal peace is so much greater.

It occurs to me that this is a lesson for me for other areas of my life.  How many times have I fought the learning process as God was teaching me something in my life, perhaps through a difficulty or new situation?  How much more could I have learned had I cooperated with Him instead?  And how much more peace would I have had in the process?

As I was contemplating this yesterday, I found this passage:

“This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
‘I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Oh, that you had listened to my commands!
Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river
and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.’”

-Isaiah 48:17-18, NLT

Peace flowing like a gentle river, and righteousness (also translated in other versions as blessings) rolling over like the waves of the sea.  What a wonderful promise!  But conditional on obedience, cooperation with God, and patience with the process of learning life lessons.  I think I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m in the midst of one of God’s “teachable moments”!

August 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm 1 comment


Blessed is the one...whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

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