The Joy of Discovery--The Discipline of Learning

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment."--Matthew 22:37-38 If you have been reading on this blog for awhile, you will probably notice that I like reading books. (Understatement of the year.) One of the hardest decisions that I had to make when we were moving into our little house was which books were going to come with me. When my husband goes back to our Claremont house, he usually asks me if I need anything. I usually give him a list of books that I left behind.

Books have become my friends. It doesn't even matter what form they are in. I have been reading off my Kindle for iPad and have finished two books this year in that format (I didn't say I was a fast reader.) I love to read other blogs and my blog reader is backlogged with tons of posts that I want to sit down and digest. Magazines, e-books, and even cookbooks...I read them all.

I especially love it when someone takes thoughts that have been floating around in my head and puts them on paper. The connection, the fact that there is someone out there who has thought the same thing, felt the same way, has been a way that God has ministered to me in the hard seasons of my life when I have felt alone.

In our family, we do a lot of reading. I try to have some time to read out loud together after dinner. The kids draw, play with legos, color, or craft while I read. Even Dad is known to find his way over to our little reading corner. Right now, we are working our way through A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. My desire is that as we do so, I am helping my children cultivate a love for learning and a joy in discovery.

I am always sad when someone tells me that they don't like to read, that the textbooks and the midterms and the cramming had snuffed out the delight in learning something new. I am especially sad when they go on to tell me that they don't read for fun anymore.

Then there are others who find reading too taxing on the brain. In a world where things are pre-digested and spoon fed, I can see that. We like our information easy to swallow and comprehend. We have lost the ability to think deeply about the greater things in life.

And then there are some who tell me they would like to read, they they enjoy reading, but they just simply don't have the time. With all that needs to be done, reading is a luxury, something that is reserved for vacations or free time. (As a mother, I'm not sure where that would come from!)

Yet, I have come to the conclusion that learning to read, enjoying the process of discovery, and wrestling with new thoughts and ideas, is not a luxury if we hope to rise above the ordinary. For with the ability to think great thoughts and to understand deep ideas, we likewise grow in the depth of our souls.

This is not the same as just being smart. There are highly intelligent people who can argue and spout out facts like a fountain, but whose learning has not shaped them into better people. I am talking about learning and discovering, and then letting God use those things we learn to begin to equip and shape us into the people He can use.

As mothers, this excitement in learning is a gift that we give to our children. As an educator, I know that there is no possible way I can teach my children everything. This is true whether you homeschool or not. However, I am confident that if my children have not only the skills to discover but the excitement and passion to learn, they will be able to learn just about anything they want to learn.

But it all begins with us. Do I carve out time to learn, to deepen my understanding, not only about God and His Word, but in other areas as well? For if all this world is His, I can find His fingerprints all over. True, our first goal is to know His Word, but whatever I take time to learn can enrich my life, my testimony, and my ministry in so many ways. Good literature can strengthen my insight into people. A love for history can help me see the hand of God through time. Even reading cookbooks can help me to learn skills that will benefit others as I prepare better meals for those I love and to those I minister.

In today's journal, we will talk more about the discipline of study and learning, and how it can impact our work at home, in our marriages, our parenting, and in our ministry to others. Just log in with your password that was included in our last newsletter.