A Humble Spirit

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” - Proverbs 12:1  ESV  
“To learn the truth you must long to be teachable, or you can despise correction and remain ignorant.” - Proverbs 12:1 TPT
 
I will be the first to say that I struggle with discipline. I am a textbook definition of a type three on the enneagram, so it is hard for me to acknowledge that there are ways that I have done things wrong. It’s even harder for me when people whose opinions matter to me point out those places where I fail. I will line up to receive constructive criticism at work, but the second it gets personal, I want to run the opposite way. I love getting it right. Getting it wrong has consequences; it always does. As someone that can turn anything into a competition, failure was never an option to me growing up.

Achievement and success was the default. Until I got to college, I didn’t ever really get corrected, because everything that I did was good. Even as a kid, I learned what was wrong and to run as far from that as possible. That can sound like pride, but I learned to be as close to perfect as possible. My decision making was logical and the most rebellious thing I ever did growing up was choose a different church than my mom. When I came to college, I didn’t know what it meant to have a healthy confrontation. I didn’t know how to be in a place where I was really wrong, where the actions I had taken, no matter how well intentioned they were, hurt someone. I had a lot of learning to do when it came to seeing God’s discipline and correction as a blessing.  

God only corrects those He loves. If He did not care about us, He would not care if we had right understanding or actions. God will correct us in life; He is too good to us not to. Our thoughts and actions matter, because every choice we make either brings us closer or further away from God.
 
I will live and die on the hill that points toward God as a Father. It has taken me a long time to get to the place where I see God as a good Father, and now that I’m here, I can’t understand anything outside of that. If we start from a right understanding of who God is, we can understand His discipline. God is a Father that cares deeply that his children, his sheep, are going the right direction. God as a shepherd is one of the most used analogies in the Bible and as rosey as that picture is, that means we are the sheep. Sheep are notoriously dumb, and to say this may still be an understatement. Sheep do not know better. They have to be taught better. Their shepherd still has to constantly look over them, leading them besides still waters. We have to have  someone correct us before we drown ourselves.
 
Correction is humbling. Having hard conversations with God and with people in your life is deeply humbling and allows for deeper connection. It frees up the space that was filled with  pride in your heart to let unconditional love wash over you.  One of the best decisions I made in my college career and early adulthood years is being discipled at Wesley. Being discipled has invited positive and loving correction into my life. A couple of years ago, I found myself in a toxic friendship that was not good for either one of us. I was in a very unhealthy place and I was using that friendship as a crutch. It gave me an excuse to be transparent but not vulnerable. It was not good and there was not fruit from that relationship. I went to my discipler and I invited correction into my life, knowing she was probably about to tell me some really hard things. She corrected my thinking and actions in a way that put my wellbeing first when I couldn’t. I didn’t necessarily see what she was doing.
 
It was not easy to hear these things, partially because I was in an unhealthy place and partially because she was asking me to take responsibility for my unhealthy behavior. She was 100% right about everything she said, but I did not want to hear it. I was not ready to take the actions she was asking me to take. For a number of reasons, the friendship ended and I felt like I was broken for a long time. I had to take inventory of my heart and my soul and the place we had found ourselves in. My discipler walked through this with me, never reminding me of my mistakes but instead pushing me toward God who was the only one who could speak goodness into the hard places of my heart. God uprooted a lot of things that had taken root during that friendship, and when I had started to heal from some of those things, He brought to mind the words my discipler had spoken over me so many months ago. He brought to mind how she had loved me by saying the hard thing, because she could not bear to see me living in less than the fullness God had created me for. Correction is hard, but God will be gentle and will lead you where you need to be when you need to be there. Correction by a kind Father is better than affirmation from the wrong people.

Author | Cristina Rosiles

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