POD: Lessons from a can’t-get-it-wrong life

  • What single person or being has been the greatest teacher of your entire life? Describe the lesson.
  • What single experience has been the most impactful learning experience of your entire life? Describe the lesson.
  • What was the most powerful lesson you learned this year? Write about why you so value it and how it has left you transformed.

Write all about it.

Trying to narrow down my greatest teacher in my life is a hard one, as I try to learn from everyone that I come in contact with.  So if I have to narrow it down, it is God because He created them all.  The lesson that resounds is two-fold.  Everyone, no matter how rich or poor, how young or old,  how educated or uneducated, how naïve or how profound, regardless of culture or gender, has something to offer to the person next to them.  And no experience is ever wasted.

This has been great to know in my life, because I work with people all the time.  Some I thoroughly enjoy being around, and others grate on my nerves.  Either way, if I open myself of up to what they might be teach me, the encounter is so much more engaging and enriching.  It might be an introduction to something I have never come across before like a concept, book, or movie that opens me up for deeper learning.  It might be a perspective that I have never considered before.

Reminding myself that nothing is ever wasted, helps me turn my focus on the lesson to be learned and off of difficult circumstances.  I have recently been introduced to the idea of growth mindset made popular by Carolyn Dweck.  In short this is the idea that our basic abilities and talents are not fixed, but that they can grow through dedication and hard work.  Yet from all her research, this idea was originally found in the Bible.

Romans 5:3-4  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.


James 1:3-4  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

lessonsvery experience, if we are open to it has something to teach us.  If I have a “fixed mindset” as Carolyn Dweck talks about, I will continue traveling around the same mountain over and over again.  However, if I am open to growing through an experience I can continue to grow and develop into what God created me to be.

To be honest, in all my training professionally, I have not found a single lesson that can’t somehow be tied back to the greatest teacher in my life.  As scriptures say, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  God is the greatest and most original teacher.

The experience that has been the most impactful learning experience of my life would have to be when I decided to truly surrender my life to Christ.  I would like to say that happened at salvation or when I rededicated my life to Christ, but it was much later than that in my walk with God.  Up until that point, I knew I would make in to heaven, but if I am honest I probably drove more people away from God than I did share Him with them.

Learning that I had to surrender my will, and along with it all the control I thought I had, was a difficult lesson to walk out.  I had to learn who I was in Christ and that my identity didn’t come from what power I thought I had, but from His power within me.  I had to learn to temper the anger within me, and let His peace, love and joy radiate out of me.  I had to learn to put other’s needs first and that it wasn’t all about me.

I admit there are still areas that God is showing me I haven’t surrendered.  In his revealing those areas to me, I see His grace and mercy.  I get a deeper revelation of where He is taking me and who He is making me to be.  I look back at that moment when I decided to surrender, and I see a different person looking back in the mirror.  I see a transformation that could have only come through Him.

The most powerful lesson I have learned this year is the importance of being intentional.  There were many things I learned this year, but all of them boil down to my choice to being intentional in my actions.  Many things may happen by accident, and many things may happen to me at the hand of others, but I am in control of what I do in response to accidents, others, and the things I want.

If I do not chose to be intentional with the lessons I learn, I will lose them.  If I am not intentional with the care that I need, I will run myself ragged and become of little use to those I am wanting to help. If I do not choose to be intentional with the dreams I have, I will see them come to pass.  If I am not intentional with the goals I set, then I will never achieve them.  If I want something, it will not come with wishful thinking, but with intentional steps to obtain it.

This powerful lesson has been one that I have to intentionally apply to every area of my life.  Learning to take time for myself, to rest and reflect helped me realize how much I needed to refresh myself.  Learning to be intentional with learning, has opened me up to reading and listening to books that I wouldn’t have taken time to open because of the investment of time needed to complete.  It has helped me be intentional in the goals I set, and taking steps to achieve them beyond the resolutions of the new year.  Being intentional in building relationships with those around me, has shown me how much I have closed myself off from others.  Being intentional with my feelings, has opened my heart to the comfort of God.  I am still learning, but being intentional will be my focus in the year ahead.

There are things I can’t get wrong in my life, because it is not over.  Mistakes I make are teachers.  Lessons I learn lead to new areas to explore about myself and the world around me.  The people I meet each day, bring me new perspectives.  I continue to learn more about God and more about who He designed me to be .  I have learned to be intentional with anything that is worth pursuing.

This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

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