Keep It Simple, Sweetie!

Now there is not just one way to enjoy a quiet time or do scripture memory or pray or spend extended time alone with the Lord.  Different methods work for different people at different times.

However, when you are first teaching someone how to do something it is wise to start with showing them just one way – later on you can always teach them alternative methods or tweak what you showed them to better suit their personality and preferences.

But if you try to show more than one method at a time it usually adds confusion and what you’ve intended to help can actually end up being a hindrance as they then have to choose what to start with before they even start.

As they say with the old acronym KISS – Keep it simple, sweetie!

So how do you select which one to start with?

I usually start with the method that’s worked best for me so I’m passing on what’s impacted me and helped me the most.  Whether it’s what will ultimately work best for them or not, I am letting them see more of my walk with Jesus – and that is so important.

But there are exceptions to starting this way– especially if someone struggles with a handicap.  Once my husband was meeting with a guy who seemed so eager to get together and grow but whenever Jim would challenge him to read something, even the Bible, on his own he never did.  It was so perplexing.

Then we found out he had an extreme case of dyslexia and couldn’t read. This definitely requires adjustments!  Once that came to light Jim started having him listen to the Word – what a difference that made!!!

So again, don’t follow a set plan, follow Jesus!

It also really helps if the first method you teach is well organized and easy to remember. Not only does this help her know how to do it the next day when she is on her own, but she is more likely to pass on something simple

For example, when I teach women how to enjoy a quiet time I follow the outline: Look, Listen, Live It Out (you can read more about this in the Helps section). It’s not that this is the only way, but it’s what I’ve been doing for thirty years and benefiting greatly from!  Plus, it’s simple and easy to remember and still covers the three key parts I have found so vital for being transformed by my time with Jesus – focusing, meditating, and application.

Over and over I am amazed at how many women, after just sharing one quiet time with me turn around and do this with someone else!  I truly have found the more simple, organized and memorable something is the more likely it is to be passed on.  This is key for discipling generationally!!!

And please note, keeping it simple, isn’t just of value when you are meeting one on one with someone – if you are ever asked to give a workshop, keep it simple!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with students after they’ve attended introductory workshops on a spiritual discipline and they never got around to doing it because they were immobilized by all the options.

Instead, whether you’re doing a workshop or showing a woman one on one take time to do the discipline together!  Don’t just tell how to do something!  Model it and let it be experienced… and be amazed at how much more likely people are to do this on their own after actually doing it with you!

And, if possible, don’t just do it with her once.  We live in an information based society – where we’re always seeking something new.  And it’s easy when discipling to think – I’ve showed her once, now let’s move onto the next topic.  Remember it takes six weeks for something to become a habit.  Since the goal isn’t for her to know about spiritual disciplines, but to do them so she can be transformed as the Lord works through them, you have to take this into account!

It is not uncommon for me to dedicate at least six weeks (if not double!) focusing on one spiritual discipline.  Yep!  All we focus on week after week is doing that one discipline together, helping her not just learn how to do it, but giving opportunity for it to be incorporated into her life.

For this to happen there not only needs to be repetition, she also needs time to experience the life changing benefit of doing this so she’ll be motivated to keep doing it even after we’ve moved on to something else – or when I’m no longer around!

So keep it simple, sweetie!  This simple principle really can help you – and those you’re meeting with get off to a good start!

Learning to Learn

The original goal of a liberal arts education was to equip people so that by the time they graduated from college they would know how to study any topic on their own.  That’s why it’s called “Liberal Arts” – because the goal was to liberate people from needing someone to teach them!

Ever wonder why in college you have to take so many courses “you’re never going to use?”  It stems from this educational philosophy.  The goal wasn’t to cram content in, but to equip you with as many different learning tools possible since there are different ways of learning different topics.  Studying biology requires different tools than learning physics!

I was blessed to be discipled by Barb Choate for two years when I was in college.  But you know, Barb didn’t teach me all I needed to know for walking with Jesus these past 30 years.  What she did was lay a foundation, helping me learn how to learn from Jesus so I could keep following Him.

All those spiritual disciplines – they are not ends in themselves, but ways of learning to learn – of helping you show up for Jesus to teach you.

Having a quiet time? That’s learning to listen – a foundational part of the learning process – it all starts here!

Scripture memory?  That’s learning to remember – another key part of learning!

Fasting?  That’s learning to focus!

Praying? That’s learning to ask questions and interact with your teacher! :0)

Bible study?  That’s learning how to observe, interpret and apply!!!  Especially when you teach how to inductively study God’s Word.

So don’t feel like it all depends on you to teach someone everything they need to know when you are meeting with them. And be careful you don’t disciple in a way that promotes the person you meet with becoming dependent on you!  (btw that’s a quote from my husband!  :0) Instead, equip her with tools, helping her learn to learn from Jesus and you will be laying a foundation for a lifetime of learning!