I must have started a dozen blog posts before this one took shape. It felt fuzzy at first—at least the words did. But the idea and emotions behind it made my heart beat a little faster and my spirit shout, “Yes! That!”
The other posts weren’t bad. Someday they may find their way to the internet, but for now they are incomplete—musings of a woman stumbling through an unfamiliar world. They’re half-baked ideas, but not nearly as interesting as Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream.
Because I feel brand new. I feel like a beginner, or maybe even a notch below that. I am a novice, a learner. Every day this world of mine grows and expands and sometimes completely blows up.
I used to drive 20 minutes to the grocery store.
Now I walk to it.
I used to park in a private driveway.
Now I pray for a parking spot on my crowded street.
I used to avoid crowds and noise and traffic.
Now I live in Chicago.
I am learning every day. So as I sat to write, to inspire and challenge and encourage you, I fought hard against that cutting, painful word—fraud.
Because I feel like anything but an expert or someone who deserves the space to speak. I am constantly becoming, becoming, becoming, and I’ve never been in this particular place before. In this season, I’ve started more sentences with, “Teach me about…” or “Tell me about…”
They’ve become some of my favorite invitations.
Tell me about your favorite food from your home country.
Teach me about the immigration and refugee systems.
Tell me about your favorite memory from your home country.
Teach me about Bollywood.
Tell me about your job at the airport.
Teach me about that Islamic holiday.
Tell me about your family.
Teach me the CTA.
Before I moved to Chicago, I grew wary of those conversations—as if not already knowing was more offensive than asking others to teach me or explain something, as if it showed that I was uneducated or uninformed.
But here’s what I’m learning—whether I am uneducated or uninformed, I am right where I am. I can’t change that. I can’t magically become informed or educated by wishing it were true.
I have to ask the right questions.
I have to listen.
I have to ask for clarity where things feel confusing.
I have to humble myself day after day, because I will always be a learner. And pride should never take that away.
My heart aches for our world. More than COVID, more than anything that can hurt our bodies, my heart aches for our hearts, our spirits, our souls, because I see an anger and pride rising faster than love and grace and mercy. I see it in our world, and I see it in followers of Jesus.
Jesus told His disciples that the world would know we are His followers by our love for one another, and this love is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy. It’s not boastful for proud or rude. It doesn’t demand its own way. It’s not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It doesn’t rejoice about injustice, but it rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures all. This love is humble. It believes the best about others. It creates space for others. It’s quick to listen and slow to speak.
This love says, “Teach me about…”
“Tell me about…,” it invites.
Love lets go of pride.
So today, more than anything else, I need you to know that I am still a learner—humble and flawed and broken. Sometimes I believe the Father gives me a word to say, specific ideas to write about, but more and more I find myself without words. In this season I have listened more than spoke. Someday I believe the Father will release the words, but right now I am learning. I’m asking questions and sticking around for the full answer. I’m sitting across from people I disagree with and learning why they think the way they do. And I’m desperately trying to wear humility close to my heart, because I have so much to learn.
And so do you.
I don’t mean that you don’t have valuable experiences, that you can’t contribute to the world. I mean that you and I will always be learners. Our world is only as big as the experiences and people we allow in it, and it takes effort and intentionality to invite those people and experiences to the table of our lives.
In this season, I am learning each day, and when I fall asleep tonight, I’ll realize how much more I’ll need to learn tomorrow. And I sort of love this, because I never want to believe the lie that says I’ve got it all figured out. I never want pride stand in the way of humility, of learning.
Because when we say, “Teach me about…” I believe we are speaking the language of love, and the world will know we follow Jesus by our love.