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At the age of 32, I decided that I would return to college to improve my writing skills. For the most part, my skills as a writer were self-taught, but that didn't stop me from being confident. So confident that when I walked into that English 102 class surrounded by kids fresh out of high school, I was sure that I had nothing to learn from them and that they had everything to learn from me. As you may have already guessed, I was wrong. The truth is that my capacity as a writer hadn't found its peak as I thought it had; it had only plateaued. I would spend the next five months not only learning about writing but also learning to be humble again. The greatest lesson I learned that semester wasn't found on my final exam; it was in my heart. I rediscovered what it really means to be a good student, not only in the classroom but in life as well.
“Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” - Proverbs 18:12
Sometimes in life, our growing stops, and our world becomes stagnant as we sit idly in contempt, questioning why. In our questioning, we usually search for the answer in anything, in anyone, anywhere, but never in our own hearts. It is in the hardness of our hearts that we lose sight of the plans God has for us, as we lean on our own understanding rather than His. It isn't until we return to the place of humility we once left, that we reunite with our joy, our blessings, and we begin to see that our prayers are heard.
“Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words." - Daniel 10:12
At this point in my life I became reminded that we can never stop growing as Christians and human beings. In order to succeed at this, it takes the discipline of a student to continue to grow. In the humbling of my heart, I began to grow once more. As I opened my heart to the prospect of learning from every encounter I had, I gained some of the most valuable insight of my life. From my daughter, I learned what it really means to have trust in somebody. From my wife I learned lessons of respect, how to be a better parent, and what it means to be a team in a marriage. I believe I even learned a lesson about loyalty from my canine companion, but he doesn't talk much about it. When I stopped listening to my own prideful thoughts and began listening to the Father and the Holy Spirit, I soon realized that there were things to learn about the true nature of God and His love for us everywhere I look. In these lessons, I began to kick bad habits, make positive changes, and grow once again in all aspects of my life.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." - Romans 1:20
If you've come to a point in your life like this, where you've hit an invisible wall and can't seem to break through, I encourage you to go back to the last place you felt you were growing and search for the lesson you may have missed. Sometimes we avoid those lessons because they're painful, or simply inconvenient, but it's those lessons that we overlook that cost us the most. Humble your heart and your mind will follow. It is in a humble heart, and only in a humble heart, that we once again receive our purpose.
"Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:4
Husband, father, writer, poet. Two time combat veteran with a passion for homeless ministry.