Fine Lines: Teachable vs Impressionable

Fine Lines cover photoTeachable:
capable of being taught; able and willing to learn
easy to impress or influence

We are complex creatures, aren’t we? To think of the computer we have for a brain out of which we function in this life is nothing short of brain-boggling.

In the midst of living and learning and learning to live, we are so smart that we choose myriad times a day – without consciously thinking about it – how we view, consider, or perceive something. With instantaneous choices made, we are off and running in a path our brain has carved out based on past perceptions and behaviors.

Sometimes ‘off and running’ rhymes with ‘stuck and nuh-uh.’

There has been much fascinating study on the brain and more discovery is constantly being made. I believe that science is catching up to the marvelous, mysterious workings of our triune beings that our Creator fashioned to begin with.

The particular challenge (aka coaching question) in this Fine Lines post is whether we find our self typically teachable or impressionable. Our brain has already done some wiring in this regard and provides us some clues:


The three dictionary descriptors of capable, able and willing are processing in our brain even as we read them.

Our logical brain may say, ‘Yes of course, I’m teachable!’ By the time they pass through our emotional brain – to the degree that capable, able and willing aren’t words that we would choose to describe our self – the question has in part been answered.

There’s some leaning toward being impressionable.


Being easy to impress or influence has connotations both positive and negative. In varying degrees, depending upon what is impressing or influencing and how our brain is processing the incoming information, we are being taught.

It is not the same as being teachable. Welcome to Fine Lines.

As a faith-based life coach, I find in my own life and witness in many others, that to live life forward as a testimony to the creative power of the Lord in one’s life means being receptive to His perspective.

He longs for us to be teachable as was Mary (busy Martha’s sister) –

who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. Luke 10:39

Note that Mary seated herself, modeling for us the heart attitude of teachable by taking it out of a concept in her brain and into the reality of tucking in her legs and lowering herself at His feet. Then she listened to Him.

Today, followers of Christ have the Holy Spirit who teaches and counsels us in our inward parts – both heart and brain. Sometimes we may be curled up in a chair, taking a walk, in the car or shampooing our hair in the shower. When we’re teachable, He shows up anywhere.

Maintaining a teachable posture before the Lord over time begins to write new things on our heart and rewires our brain, both emotional and logical. Scripture calls this having ‘the mind of Christ.’ It is really nothing short of a miracle.

In turn, being teachable begins to affect both the positive and negative aspects of being impressionable.

As we continue to learn of Him and His thoughts, manner, plan and purpose for our life – and are receptive to His life-giving truth – the former things that easily impressed or influenced with no redeeming value are replaced with a new order of things impressing and influencing us by His Spirit.

Our triune being – spirit, soul and body – is affected in every part of who we are when we choose to become teachable and not only listen but assimilate into our being what He’s saying.

It doesn’t negate being impressionable; instead, being teachable steadily brings fresh definition to our heart that tells our brain there’s a new teacher in town.

Fine Lines. So close but not the same. Only He can divide between the two, which He does. Perfectly.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 KJV

~ Nancy

Photo Credit: Free courtesy of Unsplash / Buzak Marius

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