Learning should be a life long process. Through each stage of our lives we can and should grow and develop, always moving forward. When a tree stops growing it begins to die and with people it is no different. As we branch out...(pun intended), we add value to our lives by either learning which way to go, or which way not to go. One way that we learn is from others. We can learn how not to do something, but it is even better when we learn what to do, through the success of someone else. In the victory of another could be the answer to our own accomplishments. Some times the answers are hard to see, because some one else, most likely, did not travel our exact journey. Therefore, it is not their experience that teaches us, but rather the principle they applied that led to their experience.
God speaks to us through His Word and our prayer life, which must be the first place that we go to for wisdom. But God also uses people to show us tangible ways to apply His principles. That is why it is important to build relationships with people who are walking in the successes that we are striving to accomplish.
People are not robots and their journeys and experiences are not identical. This statement is true, but can sometimes trap us into believing that our situation (problem or challenge) is so special that no one has experienced anything like it. This twisted thought process often prevents us from reaching out to learn from one another. I have caught myself saying or thinking: "I am not going to ask her about that, her situation was so serious. Mine is such a little problem.", or "Wow, he has got it so together. I am sure he has never been through what I am tackling." A personal breakthrough, in my life, was when God showed me how to separate what people go through from the principle that they applied while going through it. I began to realize that relating to others about how they did something was much more rewarding than trying to compare my struggle to whatever they had just came through.
God designed us for relationship, not just with him but with others too, and sometimes our relationships can be the difference between decay or growth. Asking advice (and listening...being a talker, I have to choose this as a discipline), is a valuable way for us to grow. As we hear from our friends, it is critical to listen for the specific principle that they applied and not to become wrapped up in the description of his or her experience. A godly principle can help us grow.
Seeking wisdom is important, but equally important is applying what we have learned. Someone told me once that true power comes from applying the right information at the right time. Growing to a level where you always know when and how to apply God's principles takes time and the discipline of learning from one's mistakes.
Learning is ongoing and with each principle application we can daily work through our progress. Whether through God’s Word, prayer, or the people He brings into our lives, we can choose to grow. We can be encouraged that even as "A Work in Progress" if we choose to learn and apply godly principals we will eventually branch out in the right direction.
"A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,"
(Prov. 1:5 NKJV)