Brick Walls & Open Doors

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Life As We Know It!
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It goes without saying that life is full of lessons, but how much we’ve really learned from those lessons of life…that’s the question!  These past 2 years, especially, have been chock full of lessons for myself, as well as our family.  But as any student fully realizes, success is not all about the information and amount of lessons we sit through, but it’s how we assess and implement that information into our lives that is the real measuring stick of ‘success’ in life.

In one word…it’s all about wisdom.  Wisdom is taking information and life lessons, and learning how to assimilate that knowledge into practical life transformation.  From the observations I’ve made in my life journey, the wisest people I have met are the ones who have a teachable heart and spirit, or as I like to refer to them, ‘open door‘ people.  An open door person is someone who can freely give and receive correction & advise..the door swings both ways and is just as open on the way in as it is on the way out.  They’re people who can both teach, and be teachable.  They’re open to learning without being defensive when someone suggests there could be a better way.  On the other hand, brick wall people are those that always think theirs is the best way, and become very defensive when their way is called into question.  Unlike open door people, brick wall folks are not very teachable, and when dealing with them…well…it’s like walking into a brick wall!

I’m thankful I’ve come a long way into increasingly becoming more of an open door person, but unfortunately I’ve found myself living as a brick wall person more times over the years than I’d care to admit.  I’ve learned and grown a great deal over the past 10+ years, with the past 2 years being some of the deeper growth I’ve ever experienced.  I fully believe that God speaks to us through His revealed Word (bible), His Spirit, and also through circumstances and people.  There’s been many times in my life where I was heading in the wrong direction, and needed a little course correction in my journey.  And one of the ways God often brings this awareness to us is through the words of those godly people around us who care enough to have the hard conversations with us.

One of the voices I’ve found quite helpful and have learned much from afar is from James MacDonald, sr. pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.  Here’s what he had to say recently in one of his weekly Walk in the Word devotionals;

ARE YOU TEACHABLE? –James MacDonald 

Are you a teachable person? Proverbs 17:10 says, “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” In other words, you can get more ROI (Return on Investment) from a wise person in one gentle conversation than you can gain from a fool by whacking him with a board a hundred times. Which are you?

If you’re not sure how you rate on the teachability meter, take this five-point quiz:

1. I know I’m teachable when people give me input. When people feel free to give you a word of improvement, it’s a good sign that you’re teachable. Nobody wants to risk cleaning up a meltdown if the person can’t receive a difficult word. Don’t try to tell him he’s not headed in the right direction because he’ll bite your head off. The fool is always deeply persuaded that what he is doing is right. A teachable person will receive input.

2. I know I’m teachable when I see measurable growth and character development in myself. If you’re changing for the good, then you’re teachable. If you’re not the same person you were last year at this time, godly instruction has produced results in your life and there’s growth because of it.

3. I know I’m teachable when I don’t have to answer a critic with a defenseMore often than I ever want to be, I’m in the uneasy position of giving people input. As hard as that is, I love to sit down with a person who can hear a difficult word with an open heart and without defensiveness. It’s been my repeated observation that those who are receptive to criticism flourish!

4. I know I’m teachable when I don’t have to criticize back. The classic symptom of an unteachable person is that they will listen to what you say, all the while framing their comeback, “Now let me tell you something . . .” Can you keep your defenses down and pride in check?

5. I know I’m teachable when I’m learning new ways to growIf people have been telling you the same stuff for years, you’re not teachable. If you’ve grown out of those old issues and are now on to new lessons, you’re on the right track.

So let me ask you…are you more like an open door…or a brick wall?  What evidence do you see in your life to make that evaluation?  It might be worthwhile to ask someone who you trust, and who knows you well, for their honest input. And when you get that input…take their response to heart!

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