Life Is The Classroom For Growing Godly Character


You’ve heard it. You may have even said it, “Praying for patience is dangerous, because the only way to learn it, is to be tested!” That’s part of growing Godly character, right?

And then what happens? Yep, stuff. Lots of it.

Who willingly asks God to test them? Do we really want to go through all of that?

The truth is, if we want to develop godly character, we must be willing to “go to school” in order to learn it, and Life is our classroom. In fact, I think family is our homeroom. There is nothing quite like family to show you your true self. Yep, I speak as a student.

How do you respond when your carefully laid out plans go awry? God uses those situations for growing Godly character in our lives!

Last week I wrote about relinquishing control of my circumstances by laying down my conductors baton and letting God have His way.

True Confessions

That very night, God tested me on this. I didn’t ask Him to, but since I wrote about it, I guess He felt I needed to stay after for tutoring. I was in a situation that had the potential to become frustrating unless certain things were arranged in advance to avoid it. So that’s what I did. I picked up my baton and began arranging things just so.

Except “just so” wasn’t to be. Other participants and unavoidable circumstances joined forces so that I was completely out of control. All I could do was wait it out. I did not respond well.

Looking back, I see myself waving my baton wildly in the air, like a conductor who is frustrated with his orchestra. I didn’t pass my test.

Another morning this week followed a similar pattern. I needed to be someplace at a particular time. But other needs jumped in front of that one–including traffic, long red lights, and a very, slow train. Once again I found myself frustrated and upset. People were counting on me, and I was late!

Frustration is the normal response when plans don’t pan out. How I react to the frustration shows what’s going on in my heart. Sitting at a red light, waiting for a long, slow train, I pitched a little fit right in my car. Immediately God whispered in my ear, This is not how I want you to react! I’m in control of your schedule. Everything is fine. Relax! You were in a hurry this morning. This can be an opportunity to take a breather.

Please hear me when I say that it’s good and right to plan! A wise person thinks ahead and makes plans accordingly. It’s our response when those plans go awry that indicates what’s in our hearts and where growing Godly character needs to take place. So, what to do?

Growing Godly Character

Part of my daily planning should include offering those plans to the Lord from the very beginning–almost expecting that He may have another plan altogether. Then willingly accepting those changes as they happen, not pitching a fit like a two-year-old. If I start out this way, chances are I will be much more flexible as circumstances change–which they certainly will.

“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring,” (Proverbs 27:1).

“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil,” (James 4:13-16).

On a different day this week, I got into my car and prayed, Lord, please order my steps during the next few hours. You know what needs to happen today. I went on about my business and didn’t think about it again. There were several things I was hoping to accomplish, but I didn’t; I wasn’t bothered by it at all. What a difference it makes starting out on the right foot!

It seems I’ve been having a lot of pop quizzes this week! Hopefully next week I’ll score better!

What about you? How are you fairing in the classroom of growing Godly character?

 

Dianne


Where I regularly link up.

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28 replies

  1. Do you really want to know? Haha…My week went much like yours: aggravated, frustrated, and failing my tests too. Thank God He is using these trying times not only to test us, but to educate us and grow us in Him. All I can say is that I’m glad it’s behind me, learned some lessons, and now I’m studying up for the next quiz. 🙂
    Jennifer Yates recently posted…How to Stay Faithful to GodMy Profile

  2. I so agree with all you have written here. I had to smile about the praying for patience part. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, how we learn these things the hard way. He really knows what He’s doing though. Life lessons are the most effective. I’ve been praying close to your same words almost every morning: “Lord, please order my steps during the next few hours. You know what needs to happen today.” I get far too caught up in my plans and He is showing me that’s just not going to work :).
    Candace recently posted…Choosing God Over FoodMy Profile

    • Candace, I love that God has a much wiser plan for our lives. Sometimes I feel like a child with Him! But you know … I am. And He is a patient Father. Let’s keep moving forward together!

  3. Growing Godly character is something that I have spoken about over the years. I also included an entire week of Bible study on the topic in my first study. It is a topic we do not hear talked about much these days. You did a great job with this.
    Leah Adams recently posted…Encouragement for When Life is HardMy Profile

    • Thanks for this encouragement, Leah. When I went to bed last Friday night, I knew this would be the next post. But I didn’t want it to be. But as the week unfolded, it became more and more clear. Truly, it’s the messiness of life where we learn to live our faith. In the living, the writing, the reviewing, the commenting … God drives this home even further. I’m so thankful for Him.

  4. This is just great, Dianne! I am so glad I’m not the only one that writes a post and then doesn’t always live it out right away. SO thankful for God’s grace!!

    • Amen, Stefani! It’s not comfortable at all! But you know, as long as I lay it all out there, God can use it … in my life and in others. Love you!!

  5. Frustration…oh dear. Must we talk about that one? I’m working on remembering to offer my day to the Lord before hitting the ground running.
    Ginger Harrington recently posted…When I Feel AloneMy Profile

  6. I have learned I want to pass the test the first time so I don’t have to keep re-taking it!!! HELP ME,LORD!
    hopeful50 recently posted…what i learned in januaryMy Profile

  7. God knew what God was doing when he defined patience as a virtue. Because patience is indeed a virtue. I think we all have to work on this Godly character. Great post today!
    Tara recently posted…What I Learned in JanuaryMy Profile

  8. It was neat for me to read this followup, Dianne. 🙂 I love what you’ve shared here, and it brought to mind one of my very favorite verses from Proverbs: “A righteous (wo)man falls seven times and rises again.” Thank you for sharing about your “fall,” and about how God enabled you to rise again. I’m learning more and more that so much of the Christian life is about getting back up to try again after we stumble and fall. How good our God is to dust us off and send us back out to the race!
    Jennifer recently posted…Laying Down the Conductor’s Baton ~ Grace & Truth (Week 55)My Profile

  9. I absolutely loved what you said because it is so true! “That very night, God tested me on this. I didn’t ask Him to, but since I wrote about it, I guess He felt I needed to stay after for tutoring.” He does that a lot doesn’t He?! So thankful for you to share what the Lord did in your life to help others of us who are “going to school” right now as well.
    Many Blessings!
    Johanna recently posted…What a Wedding Ring and Semi Truck Taught Me about Trusting GodMy Profile

  10. Dianne, I wish I could say I passed every test that came my way but since we’re friends, I know I can trust you with the truth. 🙂 There are times I fail miserably. Just yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed with all that lay ahead of me as I prepared for a women’s bible study. I felt discouraged and faithless and upset that things seemed to be falling apart. Truth is, they simply weren’t going according to my plan. But thank God for His grace. It ended up being a refreshing time that I needed as much as the other women. God is so good!
    Marva | sunSPARKLEshine recently posted…True Identity: The Truth About Being Chosen and CompleteMy Profile

    • I live that, Marva. So often, in my own experience, when things fall apart, God is bigger! And for me, I think He does that so I know it’s Him and not me!

  11. This is such a good reminder for me today. God is not asking me to seek extra credit by working harder and longer, instead he is asking me to just seek him. I hold on tight to my things and my schedule but God has disrupted it big time recently. I definitely need after school tutoring and then some. I’ll be thinking about your words for quite awhile and hopefully I will learn the lesson God is trying to teach me sooner rather than later.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…A Muddled MessMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your own analogy. We’re not seeking extra credit! These are difficult lessons. And I think when we think we’ve got it down, God switches things up on us to see how we are *really* doing. Blessings to you, Mary!

  12. Tweeted, pinned, sharing tomorrow, girl – this was GREAT!!! I loved the allegory of you waving that baton faster and faster as your day went spinning out of control! LOL (I never do that.)
    I remember especially dealing with this frustration when mom and dad’s health crises arose 6 years ago AND I was homeschooling two high schoolers. I had to be either in the hospital or doctors office nearly every day for 3 months and after that there were many, many follow ups!!! I learned then to say, “Not my plan, Lord, but Yours. Just like you said – pray, almost expecting He may have another plan.
    Not everything fits just so into our little box, does it?
    Praying for you, chic!! Please don’t hesitate to message me if you feel a need to share a burden or two, or a specific requests! 🙂
    Ruthie Gray recently posted…How to raise children to love their siblingsMy Profile

  13. Love that prayer, Dianne: “Lord, order my steps the next few hours. You know what needs to happen today.” Oh yes, the best laid plans are often changed, and I’m not always so flexible and adaptable. Trying to grow here, friend!
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…The One Powerful Focus I Want for my LifeMy Profile

  14. Beautiful post and reminder Dianne!

    I plan my days with the Lord every morning but yes, sometimes I have a fit when things don’t go as planned. Fortunately we’re learning and growing… and the Lord knows this and extends his never-ending grace to us.

    Thanks for sharing.
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…10 Things Children Need to See Their Parents DoingMy Profile

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