The Power of Being an Always Learner

What does it mean to always be an always learner? For us, this means someone who is a student; one who is eager to gain knowledge and experience.  As Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and only cease at death.” Why is it so important to have a nature that seeks to learn?  When you are continually learning, you will build up who you are, and what you are capable of. Consequently, you will also undergo character development and work towards being better today than you were yesterday. There is a rewarding part of personal growth and having strong habits that just makes you feel accomplished and in control. Learning keeps our minds sharp and useful; it helps us to make connections. When we are stagnant, just like stagnant water, bacteria can overwhelm. It’s not fresh or flowing; rather, it’s murky, and not something you want to play in or drink from. You know it is not good for you.  Learning new things usually comes naturally when it is something you are passionate about, or something you have worked on over the years. Often these are the things that really stick and help you to understand something. However, sometimes it is necessary to push ourselves to learn something new, or out of our comfort zone. But it does take dedication and effort. Even when we do feel out of our comfort zone though, we can be open to the desire to grow and learn new things. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” Additionally, as an African proverb reminds us, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” This reminds us that the hard parts about learning something new or digging in deep to something sometimes happens when circumstances are not easy or the stress is high of what you are experiencing. Learning is a lifelong journey – we don’t have to be stuck in a rut with who we are today, or how we do things, or habits that arent working for us. We can learn, grow and change for the better, if we choose to pursue intellectual growth.  In this day and age, there are so many ways to learn new things whether it’s through books, people, your spouse or kids, or through Scripture. When it comes to growing in knowledge, it is essential that we invest in this growth. Unless we invest something, whether it is  time, money, or energy, we cannot expect to get a return. Learning by chance might sound great, but the reality is we must learn to embrace the difficulty and struggle that comes with learning something new; we should even come to expect this.  When we are attempting to acquire new skills, repetition is key. Whether you are learning a physical move with your body, memorizing scripture, or building habits in maintaining the home, we must be willing to do it again and again to allow our brains the chance to grow accustomed to new knowledge.  This also includes finding rhythms that work for you and your family.  “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” ― Abigail Adams Here are some ways that being someone who is always learning is beneficial to marriage :  -Seeing each other persevere to learn is motivating and inspiring  -Seeing personal growth in each other is encouraging and admiring  -Gives us things to talk about  -Our personal growth helps stimulate growth in each other  -Makes you want to strive because they are  -Being this way helps us to pay attention and study each other  -More skills we have the more opportunity to serve together in different capacities  -Helps us to want to learn to understand each other instead of taking higher positions over each other   -Additionally, If you are a parent, being an always learner provides a great example to your children of how fun learning can be and that it never has to stop! How to be an always learner: 
  1. Recognize that you can keep learning out of school – you are never too old to learn!
  1. Be willing to Commit to learning, studying, reading, and consuming.
  1. Use your time wisely.
  1. Ask others for input on resources that pertain to a specific area you desire to grow in 
  1. Encourage one another with rich conversations about what you are learning to reinforce learning.
In this world, we will never be perfect. This means there is always room to grow. As followers of Christ, we should be humble and care about growing in knowledge and faith. When we invest in ourselves and acquire wisdom as we grow, it can benefit us for a lifetime.  Proverbs 18:15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.  

READ TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts of the Marriage After God podcast. And today we’re going to be talking about the benefits of being an always learner and how to become someone who loves to learn.

Aaron:

Today’s episode is brought to you by our Faithful Patron team who has chosen to help financially support this show monthly. And since today is my birthday, I wanted to try something a little different. If you sign up today to be a part of our Faithful Patron team at any level, you’ll be entered in for a chance to receive a copy of each of our marriage books, all of them, for free. And you’ll also be added to a special list of people who will get one of the first copies of our newest book coming out later this year titled, The Marriage Gift, 365 Prayers for Our Marriage.

This goes for anyone who’s already signed up, who’s already a Faithful Patron team member. If you are currently on the team, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win as well. Again, this is to win a copy of all of our books, including one of the earliest copies of our newest book that’s not even released yet, and that’s going to be later this fall. We will announce the winner next episode, so please sign up today and not only support this podcast and our free daily prayer emails, but also be entered into this fun giveaway. Please visit marriageaftergod.com/patron.

Jennifer:

Happy birthday, Aaron.

aaron:

Does anyone want to know how old I am? I’m almost…

Jennifer:

How young are you?

aaron:

I’m 39.

Jennifer:

That’s awesome.

aaron:

Today. Yeah.

Jennifer:

You’ve always wanted to be older.

aaron:

I did, but now that I am actually older, I’m like, wow, I’m actually feeling old. This is the first time in my life that I’m starting to feel older.

Jennifer:

Your beard has a lot more gray in it than it did last year.

aaron:

Yep. Gray hair, achy body. Always sore. I don’t sleep that great. Yeah.

Jennifer:

Awesome. Well, everyone who’s on social media, why don’t you go give Aaron some happy birthday love, and just go tell him what you mean to him, what he means to you.

aaron:

Yeah. What you mean.

Tell me what you mean to me.

Jennifer:

You could do it at Marriage After God, or at Husband Revolution.

aaron:

That’d be awesome.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

So today we’re talking about the importance of being an always learner, a student, one who is eager to gain knowledge and experience.

Jennifer:

Yeah. But why is this important? Why is it important to have a nature that seeks to always be learning and growing?

aaron:

Well, I think what’s good about it is, it shows that we want to continuously build it up and become who God’s made us to be, what we’re capable of. Character development.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

There’s lots of things.

Jennifer:

For sure. Yeah. To be better today than we were yesterday.

aaron:

I think we talked about this in January, this idea of wanting to step up, wanting to change, and it’s rewarding, it’s a rewarding part of personal growth.

Jennifer:

Well, I think what’s rewarding about it is when you start to learn, let’s say a new habit, and you’re making gains and you’re accomplishing things…

aaron:

Gains.

Jennifer:

Because you’ve acquired the knowledge and then you applied, it just makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’re in control.

aaron:

Just a quick side note on that. So in jujitsu, we’re going to talk about it a lot because we’re in it and we’re excited about it.

Jennifer:

We’re learning.

aaron:

We’re learning a new thing. When you sweep someone, so a sweep is essentially you get them from on top of you to on bottom of you. You flip them over. Which is not really easy to do in the middle of doing jujitsu. And when I do it, you were just saying, it feels so good. I’m like, “Oh, that thing that I’ve learned, it just worked”.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

That’s cool. So it’s a really cool feeling when you learn something and apply it and you actually see a fruit from that.

Jennifer:

Yeah, totally. Learning also keeps our mind sharp, useful. Maybe what we learned today doesn’t always come in handy today, but we can apply it in different ways and make these connections in life that are interesting and I like that.

aaron:

Well, and what’s the opposite that happens if we kind of remain stagnant.

Jennifer:

Yeah. Well, anytime someone says the word stagnant, I think of stagnant water.

aaron:

I know. Yeah.

Jennifer:

I always think it’s so gross. You know, hear as a little kid, your mom, “Don’t touch that”. But it’s true, because bacteria can overwhelm that little pool of water. It’s not fresh, it’s not flowing, it’s murky.

aaron:

It’s not drinkable.

Jennifer:

It’s gross. Yeah, it’s not drinkable. It’s not something you’re going to go play in, and because you know it’s not good for you. So why would we want to be stagnant people?

aaron:

That old phrase, if you don’t lose it… or if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Jennifer:

Yeah. That’s not a quote that we’re going to share today. But wait, stay tuned because…

aaron:

We got some quotes.

Jennifer:

We have quite the list of quotes for you about being a learner.

aaron:

So we’re encouraging our listeners today about, again, we always try and bring up things that we are trying to do. It’s not that we’ve figured these things out, but we do desire to learn. We desire to grow in knowledge, and not just knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but skill. We want to have something that we can use to better our children’s lives, better our lives, to better our church’s lives.

Jennifer:

And in this episode, we are talking about learning generally. So it’s not a very specific intellectual or even physical, it’s all of it. And so as we say the word learn or gain knowledge, we’re talking about lots of different facets of life. And so hopefully as we share, things will just pop up in your mind of how you relate to all of this. Because we’re not just talking about learning from books, we’re also talking about learning from people, learning from your spouse and your kids.

aaron:

Podcasts.

Jennifer:

Podcasts.

aaron:

YouTube is a great one.

Jennifer:

Yeah. Or what you’re learning about. So are you learning about a hobby that you’re interested, or are you learning about the word of God?

aaron:

Yep.

Jennifer:

Are you going back to school? Are you learning a subject or are you…

aaron:

Are you learning jujitsu?

Jennifer:

Or learning a skill. Yeah. So it’s kind of like all of it.

aaron:

What are some things that we’ve… We talked a little about some of these things the last couple episodes. What are some things that we’ve been trying to learn over the last few years? One of them, I immediately, guitar.

Jennifer:

Oh, yeah. That wasn’t on the front of my mind, but yes. We did share that recently. And we also shared… I shared self-control with eating. I’ve been trying to learn new habits and…

aaron:

Understanding how your body works and health.

Jennifer:

Understanding how my body works. Yep, health.

aaron:

How food works. From being married, day one to today, learning how to cook. And that’s not just you, that’s both of us. We’ve come so far.

Jennifer:

So far.

aaron:

Me learning how to smoke meat and cook different kinds of cuts of meat, and you learning how to cook Asian dishes and Mexican dishes and every single type of dish you can think of.

Jennifer:

That’s a really good…

aaron:

That’s been a really cool thing.

Jennifer:

Well, and it’s a good example of why learning’s important because if we were stagnant and we didn’t care about cooking, we’d still be, imagine, at those beginning years of marriage and eating really…

aaron:

Uncooked noodles.

Jennifer:

Either gross food or fast food, or things that aren’t super good for us.

aaron:

Which we did a lot of.

Jennifer:

I know, that’s what I’m saying. But the benefit is as we’ve grown and learned how to cook, we’ve been able to help support each other in marriage. Because when I’m just had a baby and postpartum, you step up and you’re providing all the meals for everyone and you’re making that happen. When I’m not in postpartum and my body operates well, I do it for the family. So it’s just cool to see the growth of that. And I’ve learned a lot about how to be able to make bigger meals for bigger families. Our family’s growing. We have friends that have bigger families. Sorry, I could go on about food.

aaron:

We love food. If you don’t know that about us, we love food. Other things I can just think of when it comes to things that we’ve learned, learning how to be parents.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

There’s no school for being a parent.

Jennifer:

There’s a lot of information. There’s a lot of information out there.

aaron:

Maybe there’s a school somewhere, but we’ve never been to it. But there’s a lot of information. And so one of the ways we’ve done that is lots of prayer, of course. But talking to people. You’ve tried to encourage me a lot to get into books, and I’ve got into a handful of them, but you’ve gotten into a lot more. Just listening to people’s stories. So learning from people because they have the experience.

Jennifer:

In that realm of parenting, also homeschool. Like how to homeschool, if that’s the route you’re taking, because that’s [inaudible 00:08:23].

aaron:

This is something you’ve done really awesome, by the way, to going from never… You did, what was it? Like preschool stuff?

Jennifer:

Aaron and I both grew up in public school.

aaron:

I had no idea what a homeschool was.

Jennifer:

And when I was 18, I got a job at a private Christian preschool. And so I worked with two and three year olds for many, many years. And then we had kids and we were deciding…

aaron:

Which made you think that maybe we had this kid thing on lockdown, at first.

Jennifer:

Until we had our own and then it’s, “What?”

aaron:

Until we had our own

Jennifer:

But yeah, we decided that we were going to homeschool. But for me, it was like, okay, I have some general knowledge of how to entertain a two-year-old, but each year it was like, this is new, this is new, this is new. Even still.

aaron:

Sometimes learning is something that we’re forced to do. We’re thrown into the deep end and you have to swim to the edge. But sometimes it’s something that comes out of an actual desire within us. Do you think that that’s something that we can pray for, that God would give us more of a desire of?

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

I mean, of course we could pray for it, but if we don’t, because it’s something that I’ve struggled with. Like reading, for one instance, reading something, that’s been hard for me. Not that I don’t know how to read. It’s hard for me to be interested in reading or have a desire to be like, “I’m just going to pick up a book and read it”.

Jennifer:

But there’s different ways that you are a good learner. You are a researcher at heart. If you’re interested and passionate about a topic, you are going to research that thing until you can’t find any more information about it.

aaron:

That’s true. Which I haven’t done a lot of lately. I should get back into researching.

Jennifer:

There’s different types of ways that people do learn. So some people are auditory, so podcasts for them are great.

aaron:

I’m very auditory.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

Well, listen, right now, nowadays I’ve figured out I love audiobooks.

Jennifer:

Right. Instead of reading the book, you listen to the book. Some people are more kinesthetic. So hands on, show me, tell me, let me do it.

aaron:

Yeah.

Jennifer:

Some are visual.

aaron:

So if you’re listening, try and connect some of these dots for yourself. What kind of learner are you? What areas can we say, “Hey, I want to be a better learner”, or “Want to have more desire of learning in these types of areas”. Maybe it’s physical things like gardening. That’s something that we’ve dabbled in and found some really awesome love of doing. And failed at a lot too. But it’s something that we want to learn.

Jennifer:

Failing is a part of the process.

aaron:

I know. There’s quotes about that, about failing.

Jennifer:

We are going to get into some quotes, speaking of quotes. I thought it would be fun just because there’s certain things that stick with me about a topic.

aaron:

You’re a meme person. You love memes.

Jennifer:

I like short and sweet. Give it to me. Okay. So this first one is by Albert Einstein. It says, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and only cease at death”.

aaron:

So he’s saying we should just be always learning.

Jennifer:

Always learning, and it’s a lifelong journey. We don’t have to be stuck in a rut of who we are today or how we do things, habits that aren’t working for us, because we have the ability to learn. And we can grow and we can change for the better if we choose to pursue intellectual growth.

aaron:

And, excuse me, I think this is also a really powerful thing that God’s given us, this gift of the ability… Like our minds. It’s unique in all of nature. There’s certain animals out there that can learn things. They can learn repetitions, they can have good memories, they that can do a lot of things. But us, his creation, made in his image, the ability to reason, to have a will, to desire to change in certain ways, to seek out.

Jennifer:

To choose.

aaron:

To choose, to open up that content, to look into that topic. And man, the amazing things, you just go on YouTube for half a second and the amazing things people do.

Jennifer:

It’s pretty cool.

aaron:

You’re like, wow, humans are incredible. So it’s a gift to be able to do this.

Jennifer:

We should use it.

aaron:

And I think we should use it. Yeah.

Jennifer:

Always.

aaron:

Here’s another quote. It says, “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in”. That’s Leonardo da Vinci.

Jennifer:

So this goes back to what I was saying earlier, Aaron, in you, I recognize that when you’re passionate about something, you are all in. You’re almost obsessed with that thing, and you want to talk about it, you want to consume all the articles you can read about it.

aaron:

I have to be forced to shut it off.

Jennifer:

But it’s good. And I think it’s just a part of your process and how you retain information. And this quote is saying, that’s a good thing, because when you study something with a desire to do it.

aaron:

I know half the things I learned in high school, I don’t remember.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

It’s not there anymore. But this is a good tip for what we’re talking about today, is if you want to be an always learner, find out how you like to learn, find out what you might be passionate about and see how you can incorporate that and weave that into your life. So for me, opening up a physical book is not the most desirable thing, but finding an audiobook is.

Jennifer:

Or going to lunch with someone that knows something about that topic.

aaron:

Exactly.

Jennifer:

You know you can pick their brain about it.

aaron:

Yeah. Or watching documentaries or videos about this stuff, that’s a whole nother avenue of learning for me. So finding a way to make it a desire.

Jennifer:

Good. Another one was, it’s just an African proverb, but it says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful…”

aaron:

Say that again. Smooth seas do not make, make skillful sailors.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

That’s like a…

Jennifer:

Tongue twister for me.

aaron:

But what I love about this is, just showing that it’s not something that just comes, like you don’t just hop on a boat and now you’re a sailor. Maybe you’re a sailor, but you’re not a skillful one.

Jennifer:

But even going beyond that, as we’re learning, if the circumstances around us are tumultuous or the thing itself that we’re trying to learn, if it’s an experience, if it’s hard like skiing.

aaron:

Like being tossed in jujitsu.

Jennifer:

Or being tossed in jujitsu or whatever it is, it’s physically demanding.

aaron:

Yeah.

Jennifer:

It’s going to benefit you if it’s rough, because then when it is smooth, you’re going to fly.

aaron:

Yep. And it’s the roughness of the seas, or it’s the challenge of the knowledge is what makes the knowledge not just stick, but also increase.

Jennifer:

Because it’s that question of can you apply it?

aaron:

Yeah. It’s one thing you learned this thing in school, it’s another thing to see if that thing actually works in real life.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

It actually reminded me of a proverb, Proverb 14:4. It says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox”. And you can apply this financially of well, without the ox, which is the investment, without investing in something, you’re not going to have abundant of nothing.

Jennifer:

There’s no stress, there’s nothing to do.

aaron:

But yeah, on the other hand, you don’t have a dirty manger. You’re like, “Yeah, I don’t have to clean up after the ox. I don’t have to deal with the financing. I don’t have to deal with this. I don’t have to do that”. But you also don’t get the benefit of the investment.

But on the converse, if you invest, there’s more potential for that return, that gain, that fruit from that investment. And so it could be investment of money, time, learning. All these things are a way of saying, “Well, oh, I don’t have the energy to go learn a new topic or figure out how to start a business”. Okay. You won’t have the stress of starting that business and failing and trying this and trying that. That’s fine.

Jennifer:

You won’t have the opportunity.

aaron:

But you’re also not, yeah, you’re not going to get the fruit or profit from that thing that you could be building.

Jennifer:

Yeah. That’s good. Okay. This next one is from Chet Holmes, and it says, “I realize that becoming a master of karate was not about learning 4,000 moves, but about doing just a handful of moves 4,000 times”.

aaron:

That’s good.

Jennifer:

Yeah. Repetition is everything. It’s key. So whether you’re learning a physical move with your body or memorizing scripture, or building another habit to, say, maintain your home and just trying to couple certain things that will help you manage better, doing those things in repetition is key.

aaron:

Yeah. One of the books I was reading about habit-forming, it was talking about, it’s not necessarily how much you’ve done something over time, but how often you do the thing. So are you doing it daily? And he gave this tip of, miss a day or two, but don’t miss three. And so the idea is, if you want to start a habit, if you want to get in habit of being in the word, if you want to have a habit of prayer, if you want to have a habit of reading or whatever that is, that repetition, is it consistent? Even if you’re not great at it, even if it’s not perfect, are you doing it every single day? Is it on the same time every day? Is it in the same way every day? And then you think about it, 365 days later, you’ve just put a whole year into your belt with that thing you’re doing.

Jennifer:

So good.

aaron:

Yeah. So the next quote by Abigail Adams.

Jennifer:

Which is John Adams’ wife.

aaron:

Awesome. I didn’t know that. “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence”.

Jennifer:

I love this one.

aaron:

Because of the beautiful words?

Jennifer:

Well, yeah. She writes so eloquently. But it’s true, learning doesn’t happen by chance. Now there’s certain circumstances and situations where we end up learning the hard way.

aaron:

At the school of hard knocks.

Jennifer:

Yeah, exactly. But things aren’t just downloaded into us. It’s not like one day you don’t know and now all of a sudden, I know everything.

aaron:

Elon Musk is working on something.

Jennifer:

I know.

aaron:

I’m not suggesting we do it, but no, the real life is we have to do the work.

Jennifer:

It also made me think of The Matrix when you plug in.

aaron:

I know, and then sudden he’s like…

Jennifer:

But that’s not reality.

aaron:

Karate master.

Jennifer:

So learning requires much of us. And so we need to learn to embrace that, that there’s a learning curve, that there’s going to be hardness and there’s going to be stress, and that it will take time. But if we do this with ardor and attendance and diligence, we’ll not just learn something, but we’ll grow. Like how you opened up with, why is this important? We will grow in our character, we will grow in our confidence. We will grow in what we know in our skillset, so that when opportunities present themselves, we can dive in.

aaron:

That’s really good. And it all goes back to what everything we’ve been saying is just this consistency, this diligence, this desire to just stretch our minds, use that muscle.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

Because that’s what it is. It’s muscle. And just using it, growing it. So we’ve given a bunch of quotes from normal people. I think we should give some quotes maybe from the Bible, right?

Jennifer:

Yeah. Let’s do it.

aaron:

Proverbs 18:15 says, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge”. And all throughout Proverbs is this theme of the wise man seeking out counsel, knowledge, wisdom, and the fool not hearing any of it, not wanting any of it, remaining where they’re at. And so there’s just an encouragement and just generally for us as believers, to not desire to be foolish people or not seek wisdom. So none of what we’re saying, I hope it doesn’t come off as like, oh, now you need to be reading all these books and starting businesses and all this. We want to inspire and remind us that it’s good to learn and that we can have a posture and a heart of, am I currently learning or have I just been going, maintaining, being stagnant. And so I think we’re what we’re trying to encourage.

Jennifer:

Whenever I read scripture and you come across a verse like this, to me, it’s always like a heart check. Like, oh, wait, am I…?

aaron:

Yeah.

Jennifer:

Which way am I going?

aaron:

And it’s good to be reminded of these things. I’m like, oh, I need to use it before I lose it. Especially since I’m getting old. I’m 39 now, guys.

Jennifer:

All right. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction”. So that just, again, goes back to what you were just saying.

aaron:

What’s cool about this one though, just as a note, is the beginning of knowledge, just in general, is truly fearing the Lord, knowing that He’s the creator, that He’s the king, that He’s the master, puts us on the track of knowing knowledge, of knowing not just Him, but if he created all things, don’t you think He knows all things?

Jennifer:

Yeah. And something that I’ve found fascinating since having children is the wonder of how God is in everything. And so, you go on a hike and you start explaining, the kids, they have so many questions about everything.

aaron:

And you realize how big it all is.

Jennifer:

Yeah, but you start explaining like, well, “God made that leaf and God made that caterpillar, and isn’t His creativity and design so wonderful”? And so what I love about the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge is no matter what we’re learning, we can find God in it. We can experience it with Him.

aaron:

Yeah. Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, which is just, stopping there for a second, is so beautiful. And if you feel heavy and burdened, that Christ is the one that gives us rest. He is our rest. And then he says in verse 29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. He says, to take his yoke, which is something that is used to work. You put it over your shoulders, on an ox, and it drags and it plows. But he’s saying his yoke is light. And then he says, learn from me, and he likens learning from Him as something that will bring you rest. So learning from Christ, learning from who He is, what He said, who He says we are, is something that can bring us rest. And I think that’s powerful.

Jennifer:

Well, I think just to add to that, there are sometimes seasons of our lives where we do feel so heavy that we can’t possibly fathom picking up a book or learning a new skill.

aaron:

Almost like paralyzed.

Jennifer:

Yeah, because what, for whatever reason, you just can’t. And so our encouragement is to… what Jesus is saying in this verse is, learn from me, and so no matter what, you can go to Him and you can be learning from Him. So you’re still learning.

aaron:

Yeah, learning His patience, His kindness.

Jennifer:

But maybe for a season you’re just focusing on Him and nothing else. And that’s a good thing.

aaron:

Maybe we all just need that.

Jennifer:

Yeah, I’m sure. I’m sure we do.

aaron:

Yeah. Ephesians 5:15, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise”, just again reminding us as believers, this is specifically talking to the Church, the Church in Ephesus, but us as a whole, that we pay attention to the way we walk. What kinds of things are we learning? Because this is a big thing. Are we filling our minds and hearts with things that are not good? Are we desiring to learn harmful things, or are we learning things that bring wisdom and counsel and profit in many ways, not just financially, but spiritually and emotionally and mentally and physically. Are we walking as wise or unwise?

Jennifer:

That’s good. Well, being always learner means that we are teachable. Do others recognize this quality in us? Are we a joy to teach? If someone’s going to teach you something or share something with you.

aaron:

Or share with you their advice.

Jennifer:

Are you an easy person to sit down with and teach and share? Are you receptive? Being an always learner means we’re humble to recognize that we have areas to grow in, because we’re not perfect and we won’t be perfect. There will always be room for more growth. And it also means that we’re paying attention in order to retain what we’re learning, because we care, because we’re passionate, because we’re interested.

aaron:

Yeah, having that heart is saying, “I recognize I need to grow, and so I’m willing to hear it”. That’s it. That’s learning. I’m willing to learn how I can grow, where I have shadows and sharp edges that need to be refined.

Jennifer:

Refined. That’s a good word.

aaron:

It reminds me of a story that just happened earlier this week. We were driving home from somewhere, I don’t remember where it was, or we were going to jujitsu or something, and I was listening to Olive sing in the back of the car, and she’s just got this natural talent. She hits the notes and she sings in key, and she remembers the songs.

Jennifer:

And lately she knows that she can sing well, and she’ll play with her notes. And so she’ll go up and she’ll do the little vibrato thing. It’s actually really pretty.

aaron:

It’s really pretty. And I lean over to Jennifer quietly, I’m like, “I think we should consider someday getting her sing singing lessons”. And of course, as always, she’s listening. She’s just singing behind us, but they’re listening. They always hear.

Jennifer:

They’re always paying attention.

aaron:

What we’re talking about. So parents, I mean, you probably know this already, but your kids are listening all the time. Anyway, she goes, “Dad, I don’t think I need singing lessons. I’m pretty much already perfect at singing, so why don’t we…” And then I’m like, “Olive”, I kind of laughed, “That’s really cute. You are really talented, God’s gifted you, but none of us are perfect. We all need to learn something”. She’s like, “Oh, okay”.

But it was just so sweet because in her mind, she thinks so highly of herself, which is good.

Jennifer:

She’s confident. Yeah.

aaron:

But right now, she’s in a process, all of our kids are, of learning to learn. And I always tell my son, “Your job right now as a 10-year-old is to learn how to learn. That’s your whole job”. And so we’re in the process of teaching them how to learn, but it just shows me that sometimes we have this heart. Oh, I’ve already got that figured out, I don’t need to learn anything else.

Jennifer:

Yeah. Or we could just be stubborn and stuck in our ways and stuck in our… where we’re at mentally and emotionally that we just think we don’t need anything else.

aaron:

I’m going to admit something personally.

Jennifer:

What’s that?

aaron:

So just like you know I can’t watch a movie twice. If you don’t know this about me, I watch a movie and I cannot watch it again. It’s so hard for me to do just because I can remember everything about it, all the mystery is gone in it. I have that, sadly, same problem with books of the Bible. So I have a hard time getting myself to go open up a book that I’ve already read a thousand times, and I’m like, oh, wait, what else should I… And it’s not right of me, because there’s always… we always talk about this, that it’s shallow that a baby can wade in it, and so deep that an elephant can swim in it. I should not be afraid to open it back up and be like, “Well, what does God have for me today”?

Jennifer:

Yeah, because it’s relevant.

aaron:

Yeah.

Jennifer:

Yeah. That’s good. Thanks for admitting that.

aaron:

It’s true.

Jennifer:

Okay, so how do we be someone who’s always learning?

aaron:

Well, we can recognize first that we are to keep learning. We’re past high school, we’re past college. We’re never told to learn. It’s a part of our life. Again, it’s a blessing that God gave us, the ability to learn, to grow in our knowledge.

Jennifer:

I think I’ve shared this before, but sometimes I get stuck in thinking, well, I wish I would’ve learned that as a kid, because in my mind, being a child…

aaron:

So many things.

Jennifer:

Is when the development happens, so now that I’m an adult, if it didn’t happen, then it’s not going to happen now. And I convince myself that it would be too hard to do.

aaron:

You’re proving yourself wrong.

Jennifer:

I’m totally proving myself wrong this year. But it’s been really cool to see that, yeah, we don’t stop. We don’t stop. We don’t have to stop. Anyways, the next one is be willing to commit to learning, studying, reading, consuming. We shouldn’t settle to just veg out on our devices or on entertainment. We should be using our time wisely.

aaron:

So maybe that commitment is like, hey, I’m going to go to the library once a month and I’m going to pick out a book on something. Something I’m passionate about, something I’m excited about, something I’m just interested in or curious about. And then however long it takes you, read it. Don’t read it a day necessarily, but maybe some people can. We know people that could just read books in a day. So make a commitment, put it on the calendar, of like a way that you might try and incorporate this into your daily life. The next one is use time wisely.

Jennifer:

Oh, I think I just said that already.

aaron:

Did you?

Jennifer:

Yeah, but that’s okay. It’s important.

aaron:

Oh.

Jennifer:

Use time wisely.

aaron:

Well, the idea is, I’m sure all of us have something that we waste our time with. So social media, movies, whatever it is, maybe we can sacrifice that thing that we waste our time with and replace it with something that is educational, something that’s furthering our knowledge.

Jennifer:

And growing us. Yes. Another one is, ask others for input on resources that pertain to a specific area that you desire to grow in.

aaron:

So finding an expert in something.

Jennifer:

Yeah. Right.

aaron:

That’s good, yeah.

Jennifer:

Some influence. And lastly is, don’t forget to encourage one another with rich conversation about what you’re learning. Your spouse is right there, and most likely, they’re learning alongside you even if they’re not doing the thing or learning the thing or reading the book, they are hearing it and they’re absorbing from you and vice versa. And so there’s room there for conversation and sharing, which is good.

aaron:

I want to make one more note before we end this episode. The power of growing in our knowledge and skill and abilities and all these things, isn’t just for our personal growth, but what happens is when the tree has good fruit, so spiritually, when you have good fruit, who does the fruit benefit?

Jennifer:

Those around you.

aaron:

Those around you.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

aaron:

They pick the fruit and they get to eat it, and like, “Wow, that tastes good. Wow. I love being around you”. Growing in these things, growing in this area, growing in knowledge and in abilities and skills and all these things and whatever aspect, whatever quantity they come in, it’s going to benefit your spouse, it’s going to benefit you, it’s going to benefit your children, it’s going to benefit your neighbors. It’s going to be able to benefit your church. Essentially, it’s just as we always talk about from our book, Marriage After God, our tool belt. It’s just adding tools in your tool belt that God can use in you for His glory, for His goodness, for His gospel. Would you agree?

Jennifer:

Yep. Totally.

aaron:

Yeah.

Jennifer:

Good job. Well, that kind of wraps it up for our encouragement today of being an always learner. And we do want to end with our growth spurt section.

aaron:

Which this is a new one.

Jennifer:

Is a new one, because we’re in the month of April now. And so we thought we would encourage you guys to invest intellectually by reading a good book and then discussing it with your spouse.

aaron:

Can they do an audiobook too?

Jennifer:

Totally.

aaron:

Because I’m sure there’s someone out there like me.

Jennifer:

Of course.

aaron:

Yeah. So some book of some sort and discuss it.

Jennifer:

Yeah. So with that, do you want to pray?

aaron:

Yeah.

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of knowledge. We pray we would be people who seek and pursue knowledge. We pray we’d be humble and recognize that there will always be so much more to learn and grow in. We pray we would seek and study our spouse and know them well. We pray we would be always learners of your Holy word. Please help us to experience growth and our relationship with you as your Holy Spirit teaches us. We pray your will is done in us and through us as you shape and mold our characters. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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