Freed to live through the death of another.

I’m A Slow Learner

im_a_slow_learnerI’m slowly learning that my heart is too easily affected by all the wrong things, yet it remains stubbornly hard precisely where I need it to be soft.

I’m slowly learning that after 32 years, I still don’t know myself nearly as well as I should.

I’m slowly learning that I don’t have nearly the platform with people that I once thought I did; an authoritative voice is earned over the long haul.

I’m slowly learning that the louder I speak on peripheral issues, the quieter my voice becomes when calling people to the centre.

I’m slowly learning that I’m not nearly the husband, dad, friend, pastor, or Christian that I thought I would be by now.

I’m slowly learning that what I want my life & ministry to be characterized by when I’m 74 needs to be what characterizes my life & ministry now.

I’m slowly learning that it is possible to idolize good things like unity and peace; and also that joy quickly turns to rage when those idols are toppled.

I’m slowly learning that very few people in the wold are called to be ‘the voice in the wilderness.’ Probably far fewer than evangelicalism — myself included — currently recognizes.

I’m slowly learning that praying for something doesn’t mean that I’m actually believing God can and will act.

I’m slowly learning that doing the actions that match faith-filled obedience is not the same thing as faith-filled obedience.

I’m slowly learning that believing the truth “Christ cares for his church more than I do” is integral to faith-filled sermon preparation.

I’m slowly learning that since Christ has loved his church to the point of laying down his life for her, I can entrust her to him — I need to be anxious for nothing.

I’m slowly learning that it is better to labour to show the beauty of the truth than the ugliness of error; experience of the genuine exposes the counterfeit.

I’m slowly learning that it’s better to taste and see than to study and speak.

I’m slowly learning that if I’m not the most godly person in a conversation, my voice shouldn’t be the first one heeded.

I’m slowly learning that just because people exist on the other side of a screen doesn’t mean they’ve ceased to be people I’m called to love.

I’m slowly learning that in almost every instance ever, it’s better to wait to open my mouth (or tweet or blog or post to facebook). There is almost always a better time to be heard than in the heat of the moment and there is almost always something better to be said than what I first think of.

I’m slowly learning that people are more persuaded by what you say when they are first persuaded that you love them and understand them.

I’m slowly learning that I need Jesus and the work of his Spirit more — not less — than I did yesterday. And I fully anticipate that pattern to continue.

I’m slowly learning that I can’t live a single day worth living or do a single deed worth doing without conscious trust in and reliance on the gospel of Jesus.

I’m slowly learning that spiritual warfare is real, and that pastors and their marriages are targets. I am a target; and a weak one at that.

I’m slowly learning that the people of our church need a pastor far better than me; but since they’re stuck with me, they too need the Spirit to work in my heart, for their good.

I’m slowly learning that other people are slow learners too; and I’m an arrogant fool when I don’t give them grace that matches the grace I’ve received.



  1. Sylvie Manary

    Especially like your last comment. I pray God burns that deep in my heart. Blessings on you.

    • Julian

      Thanks, Sylvie. I need the Lord to work that in my heart, for sure.

  2. Jeff Howard

    Great post Julian! I'm a slow learner too. It is good we have a God that is patient with us. May God bless you and your family.

    • Julian

      Thanks, Jeff. Of all things I'm thankful for, God's patience with me is near the top.

  3. Nabil

    Thanks for your excellent post Julian…..very good things for us all to seriously consider about our own lives. "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Gal. 6:3). I think this shows you are speeding up though :).

    • Julian

      Thanks, Nabil. I'm slowly learning to apply that verse more quickly to myself than to others. 🙂

  4. Ewan

    The kind of pastor who finds grace to write this is the kind of pastor I'm thankful for…and whom I deeply respect…and whose example I need to follow…

    • Julian

      Thanks, Ewan. You're a good friend and a consistent source of encouragement to me.

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