Thursday, October 13, 2005

Celebration of Discipline 5-Study

Important bullets from the Discipline of study:

Good feelings will not free us. Ecstatic experiences will not free us. Getting "high on Jesus" will not free us. Without a knowledge of the truth, we will not be free.

What we study determines what kind of habits are to be formed.

Arrogance and a teachable spirit are mutually exclusive.

Remember that the key to the Discipline of study is not reading many books but experiencing what we do read.

Study produces joy.
Each of the above caused me to stop and think but what really captured my attention was Foster's discussion of the study of nonverbal books. Foster suggests that we devote time to the study of nature, relationships, technology, culture, institutions and ourselves. All of the above, seem to me worthwhile ventures. I was, however, taken aback by the thought of studying myself. At first it struck as mere navel gazing. In light of Foster's further discussion it seemed a more valuable and daunting endeavor. Foster suggests, "We should learn the things that control us. Observe your inner feelings and mood swings. What controls your moods? What can you learn about yourself from that?"

The two things that jump to mind as controlling factors in my life are my circumstances and other people's opinions; the results of growing up in the home of an alcoholic. Perfectionist tendencies and people pleasing can often bear way too much influence on my actions and decisions. A friend helped me make the connection between my family of origin and these two behaviors. (Foster's point about live discussions as part of the study process played out)
I know these factors exist. I even have an idea of when they are most likely to come into play. What I still need to learn, to study more on, is how to let the Holy Spirit work in, through, around, and hopefully instead of perfectionism and people pleasing.

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