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Learning Curves

If my life had a theme for 2009 it was this: Learning curves. Specifically, learning curves of the steep and tricky, zippy, herky-jerky type. Though this theme wouldn't have occurred to me if it weren't for the sales guy at the Apple store yesterday. I had gone because the screen of my current laptop is sporting a nice crack that allows me to see only the top two-thirds diagonal of the screen. And everyone and their mother seems to be telling me now is the right time to switch back to the Mac.

So, anyway, yesterday as I quizzed the sales guy on exactly why the Mac would transform my life as I know it, I leaned in to hear his wisdom above the buzz of the crowds. After pointing out various features and "cool stuff," the poor guy just said the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time: "The learning curve can be pretty steep for those coming from PC to Macs…."

Ach. My body tensed. My heart raced. The sales guy lost his sale. While normally I am big on learning and while normally I would not fear the week or two "transition" it would take for me to get used to a new operating system (and frankly, while normally I would doubt it would take me that long), I could not deal with another learning curve. Not this year.

That's when it hit me that this year has been all about the learning curves. In a season of my life when I thought I'd have had so much more figured out, 2009 seems to have thrown everything up in the air and out the window. There have been twists and turns I sort of expected (like learning how to market my book) to those I never saw coming (like learning how to married to a man running for public office).

Most of the things I've had to learn have been great. All have been challenging and exhausting. Each has left me wondering just what God has up his sleeves for me and in my life.

But the more I thought about this yesterday, another theme for my 2009 emerged: Story. This one has been more blatant as it was the actual theme of three conferences I attended (it was the actual NAME of one of them). It started last March at GFL's Synergy conference, where we heard about finding God in our stories. Then this fall, I heard more about the importance of telling our stories so people could find God in them. As a writer, certainly none of this was new to me, but still: that it was being hammered into my head made me stop and think: Maybe God was trying to tell me something.

As these theme intersected in my brain—and as I sat down at my cracked laptop to plunk out thoughts on this—I realized that in every talk I heard on the power of Story, learning curves were at the heart of those stories. Whether it was about a Bible hero learning just how mighty and radical her God was or a "regular" person learning, well, the same thing, these stories that I was told we should look at or tell were about God in the mix of our learning curves. About where God is as we speed along, herking and jerking. About where he is when we nearly collapse with exhaustion, weary from all this learnin'. Where he is when we beg, "Please no more. Can we just coast for a while?"

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