By Roxanne Drury
‘Tis the season…no, not Christmas….Spring!! ‘Tis Spring! The season of new growth, greener grass, a bit warmer weather, motivation, inspiration, and spring fever. When spring arrives, we begin to pursue new adventures outdoors like planting seeds and thatching the lawn. The bike tucked away in the rafters begs us to take it on a spin around the neighborhood. We wait and watch for the daffodils and tulips to show their glorious heads and stretch out their leafy arms. And don’t forget the ever-early arrivers, that sweet little crocus. Growth is all around in nature. But what about us? Should spring beg us to grow and stretch as well?
Luke 2:52 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” This is growth.
We can pursue personal, professional, and spiritual growth anytime. But springtime seems to shout to me, “Hey lady, it’s time to grow!” ‘Tis the season for growth. First let me say, I am absolutely not an expert on this, but I can share my experience and what I have learned over the years about all three of these areas of growth.
How do we increase or grow in all these ways in our lives? I think it starts with deciding that growth is important. It was important to Jesus and He is our model. He was always teaching and growing His disciples.
So, first, why grow? Why is it important? Personal opinion – if you are not growing, you become stagnant. Being stagnant turns into complacency and complacency turns a person into a lukewarm Christian. And God does not want us to be lukewarm Christians. He wants us to be fired up for Him and fired up for what He has us doing. You get to decide though – is it important to you?
On personal growth: I learned a long time ago that God had a plan for me. His plan for me was kids. Personal growth comes from always striving to be who God made you to be, working to develop yourself to your maximum potential as designed by the Creator. It is kind of like being in a perpetual transformative state.
One way you can experience personal growth is through self-evaluation. This can be hard, but it is so worth it. Find and read a book that challenges you and convicts you to be better. Right now, I am reading “Absolute Surrender” by Andrew Murray. Talk about convicting. I have found that choosing a life verse, or a word for the year, are also helpful tools to guide your growth in a particular area. Post them places you will see them – your phone or computer screen saver – always a reminder of what you are striving for.
My life verse is Isaiah 26:3-4: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
When I feel stressed or confused, this verse reminds me to draw on the strength of the Lord for peace. I can trust in the Lord for He has never let me down; He is as solid a rock as there is.
On professional growth: I think it is important to always be looking for feedback – true honest feedback, not just a pat on the back or an ‘atta girl’. I am talking about the kind of feedback you can learn and improve from. It can be humbling and it may sting for a minute, but before disregarding it, think about it and see if there might be some truth in it.
For me, there is nothing more humbling than having to ask for help. But it is okay to need help because by asking: 1. You learn something new, and 2. You’ve made yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability brings about growth.
Make sure you have a strong work ethic, be a person of integrity, and do what you say you will do. These are choices. Find someone you admire who does what you do and talk with them, pick their brain, and connect. Ask permission to ask them questions. Be continually learning about and improving what you do. Sometimes that means stepping out of what is comfortable. And guess what, that’s growth.
On spiritual growth: Spiritual growth comes from logging time with God. That’s it. Whether it is in prayer, reading Scripture, singing songs of worship, listening for Him to speak, or just having eyes to see Him everywhere in everything. Jesus was our model – He rested, He got away, He talked to His Father, He often quoted Scripture, He had eyes to see everyone, He was patient, kind, loving, truthful, helpful, compassionate. Isn’t this how we want to be? To get closer to these qualities, we need to grow and that takes intentionality. Set aside time for God and stick to it. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. …To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
In his book, “Becoming Who You Are,” James Martin wrote, “The more we live out our true selves, and the more we become the person whom God intended, the more we see the spectacular effects of a well-lived vocation. The doctor who fully embraces his vocation becomes a better doctor. The friend a better friend. And the Christian becomes a better Christian.”
That’s growth. That’s why we pursue it personally, professionally, and spiritually.
We don’t want to be stagnant, lukewarm Christians. We are all busy – but…we need to make time to grow. ‘Tis the season! It’s important! No excuses.
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.