Inap Yu Stretim Mi?: on rehearsing the right story

Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalm 139:23-24

Right now, Cody and I are working on learning Tok Pisin, the trade language of Papua New Guinea. Every afternoon, we say to our language helper:

“Bai mi stori. Bihain, inap yu stretim mi?”

It means: I’m going to tell you a story. Afterward, can you correct me?

We do our best with the vocabulary we’ve learned so far, and we explain how our morning went, or describe something exciting we’ve experienced in the past, or sometimes we tell him about our funny moments. He listens and nods, and once we’ve finished, he faithfully points out every single thing we did wrong.

We work on it together until we’ve straightened out (“stretim”) all of the errors. Then we record him telling the same story. After our lesson is over, we listen to his version over and over and over. We’ve learned the words, now we want to learn his way of saying them.

This morning, I realized that this process is a great picture of how the Lord wants us to approach Him. Who in their right mind tells a story and then invites someone to point out everything that’s wrong about it?

Someone who already knows they aren’t telling it perfectly. Someone who’s ready to learn.

What if I approached the Lord this way: Jesus, I’m going to tell you a story. Afterward, can you correct me?

What if I laid out for Him everything I was thinking and all the things I had experienced; then I invited Him to straighten it out? To correct me when I’m telling the story wrong? To adjust my thinking where it’s off?  To point out the issues that my own heart doesn’t see?

He is so much more than a merciful listener. He is my willing teacher. What if I humbled my heart enough to invite His critique? I think He’d be faithful to give it. What if I told my version of the story once, but then I took His words and I listened to them over and over and over, because I was desperate to get the right version into my brain?

Would my heart benefit most from rehearsing my version, or from studying His?

Lord, inap yu stretim mi?

He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.

Psalm 25:9

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…”

Colossians 3:16