“I’ll do it myself!” the two-year-old cries, stomping his pudgy food with fisted hands.
“I know what I’m doing,” says the stressed-out teenager who’s convinced they have a strong grasp on reality–and that we, the adults in their world, don’t.
“That editor just doesn’t get me!” says the writer who’s convinced their book is the next big seller, even though others have alerted them to major plot holes.
And so, they dig in their heels and continue on their way… further and further from the finish line.
Early in my writing career, my skin was thinner than a pears and as easily bruised. But before long I learned, if I truly wanted to grow, I’d need to allow God to develop within me a teachable spirit. This realization has helped me in every area of my life.
Are you doing the same? Today my sweet friend and fellow ICD writer shares her thoughts on teachability.
Are You Teachable by Susan Aken
How do you react when someone gives you advice that is scary? We don’t know all of Ruth’s motivations and reasons for choosing to go with Naomi but we do know she was determined to stay with her and was deeply attached to her. Ruth had great respect for Naomi. When they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth devoted herself to taking care of Naomi and providing for her. She always listened to Naomi and followed her advice. In chapter 3, verses 1-6, Naomi asks her to get all dolled up and go to the threshing floor where Boaz is sleeping. She tells her to uncover his feet and lay down there. Verse 6 tells us that Ruth “did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.”
She took a great risk here. She risked being rejected and embarrassed. She couldn’t know without doubt how Boaz would react. I think Naomi was sure of his reaction but there was no guarantee. Naomi asked Ruth to take this risk because she knew that Boaz (as next of kin) was her best hope for a future and she knew that he had taken an interest in Ruth since he told her to only glean in his field and instructed his workers to leave extra grain. When Naomi told Ruth to lie at his feet and then ask him to spread his garment over her, this was a custom of the time to let him know she was interested in marriage. You can read more about this HERE:
Ruth allowed Naomi to guide her and trusted her advice.
In Beyond I Do, Ainsley also has a mentor who gives her advice. Her friend, Deborah, who led her to Christ is also her coach and friend. Deborah encourages Ainsley to stay open to her mom and to forgive her even though she would prefer to just shut her out of her life. Deborah asks her to take a risk by opening her heart to her mom. Her mom has hurt her so many times over the years and she is afraid of being hurt again. But Deborah keeps gently prodding Ainsley to reach out. She remains open and teachable with her mentor. In one beautiful scene, when Ainsley realizes that she is not sure what is next in her life, Deborah asks her, “If you could do anything, knowing God would stand behind you 100 percent, what would that be?” When Deborah asks that question, Ainsley knows immediately what her answer is. She has known it in her heart but Deborah helps her voice that desire. She helps Ainsley find her ministry to hurting families.
If we want to grow as Christians, we must remain open and teachable. When we think we know it all or that we don’t need advice, we’re headed for a fall. When someone speaks into our lives what feels like criticism or makes a suggestion that would take us out of our comfort zone, God uses it to help us to grow and become more mature. I am experiencing that in my life. My good friend, Jennifer, has become a writing mentor (though I am older than her) and she has recently given me some challenges as a writer that would take me out of my comfort zone. She is also helping me realize that I need to be open to advice and constructive criticism in order to grow as a writer. We need each other!
Some questions to discuss, pray over, and ponder:
First, if you haven’t already done so, read Ruth 3:1-6
- How do you react when someone offers advice that scares you?
- Are you cultivating a relationship with a mentor? (I don’t think it has to be someone older than you, just someone you can learn from) Is there someone you could mentor?
- Would you be willing to share about a mentor relationship and what you learned either when you were mentored or when you mentored someone else?
Share your thoughts here in the comments below, join the discussion in our email loop, or at our Facebook Group page Beyond I Do Bible Study Group.
Susan Aken is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church! Visit her online at Soaring With Butterfly Wings. Find out more about her writing or pick up one of her devotionals here.
I think the more I draw closer to God the more open I am to other’s opinions and help. I find this especially to be true as I write. I always want my words to glorify God. As of a mentor: I have not walked side by side with another woman in years. I have moved so much that it’s been difficult. I do believe that it is important to have a mentor. I do however have a new God-Friend. We don’t mentor but rather encourage each other. Mentoring is good especially for accountability. This was a great post Susan; now I am going to pray that God would bring me a mentor in the 2015 year. I will be sharing on Friday the importance of feeling honored. Mentoring can bring honor to God. Love how we are all growing as we study the book of Ruth.