Someone has said: “Most people I meet are lumps of undigested experience.”

What does it mean to be a “lump of undigested experience”?

We don’t learn simply from having experience. We learn from pausing to reflect on our experience in God’s presence, asking the Holy Spirit to shed light on those experiences.

This is especially important when we have gone through painful or confusing experiences. The process of reflection gives us an opportunity to discern the lessons God has for us. And it gives God an opportunity to continue shaping us to be more like Him, transforming us from one glory to another as Paul describes in his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 3:16–18).

If we don’t digest our experiences, we miss God’s purposes for putting us through them, and we miss God’s opportunities to grow as his sons and daughters. Instead of becoming more approachable, more patient, and more gracious, we grow more cynical, or angry, or fearful, or hard-hearted, or hypocritical.

The older we get, the greater the danger of piling up more and more undigested experiences, and living with unresolved conflict and pain. Leaders who don’t digest their experiences not only do damage to themselves; they pass it on to those they are leading.

What about you?

When did you last set aside time to digest a difficult leadership experience?

What did you sense God saying to you?

If that hasn’t been your practice, choose a recent difficult experience as a starting point.

What happened?

How did it impact you and those around you?

What do you sense God might be saying to you?

Who else could you invite to help you learn from your experience?

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