I have been someone fanatic about growth even before knowing this word’s existence.
I started to read teen magazines when I was in 5th grade and Readers’ Digest in 6th grade. I have always wanted to know more and be better.
After I accepted Christ at the age of 19, searching for books that promote spiritual growth and understanding of Christian faith became my new passion. Those books were not for sales where I came from. I would mostly borrow them from my few Christian friends, and make copies of them at the local printing shop. I spent a lot of pocket money doing that. And it was worth every penny. I devoured those books like a starving man invited to a feast.
I grew up in a non-Christian family. I’d experienced the death of my grandparents and the death of my dad before I turned 18. I may not understand much as a teenager, but one thing was clear to me—-the system of my family of origin wasn’t working. I couldn’t feel the love that I was craving, and many days, I would rather be somewhere else than going home.
After choosing to believe the promise of abundant life in Christ, my previous worldview was undone. A quiet stream of desire flew out of my deep inside, propelled me to move towards the truth. I desired to know more truth of God. The truth would set me free from the bondage of lies. And I would grow in freedom.
As I’m writing this blog post, we are in a second semi-lockdown of 2020 here in Geneva, Switzerland, due to the drastic increase in the country’s Covid-19 new cases.
Economic challenges, health concerns, and the unknown future topping on the daily life stress created the “new norm.” No matter which country you are living in, saying this season is difficult is an understatement.
However, I’m exploring a storyline of growth in the face of a depressing time. The silent and icy winter doesn’t mean life stopping but rather a rejuvenating season to prepare for the next spring. And as long as we are living and breathing, growth is an open invitation.
There are many aspects of growth, spiritual, emotional, relational, or even work-wise. In this article, I’d like to explore the idea of inner growth towards greater peace, stability, hope, and creativity because I think it’s the foundation of any other kind of growth.
Proverbs 4:23 says,
So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. (TPT)
1. Desire to grow
We have to have the desire to grow before we can actually grow. It’s out of the question for most of us because growth is a natural, healthy state of life. It is how life is designed to flow. But for some of us, stagnation seems to become the norm and false comfort zone. Be aware of that and make some changes in your thinking because you are made to grow no matter how old you are.
2. Name your fear
Fear is one of the biggest hindrances of any growth. It’s a trap that stops us from moving forward. Do you have fear now? What are you afraid of? Please take a moment and write down each one of them. Give your fear a name. Are you fearful of sickness? Death? Losing your job? Lack of finances? Be as specific as possible.
3. Give your fear to God
You can’t do anything about fear. You can’t stop feeling fearful if you keep thinking about it. The only thing you can do is to give it over to God and trust that He will take care of you.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.
4. Focus on the good and be thankful
The French artist Henri Matisse said: “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Growth has a lot to do with our perspective. We become what we behold. The truth is, even in the darkest times in life, there is always something good to be thankful for. Focus on the good.
Every day, I thank God for all the simple good things in my life, my family, an apartment to live in, food on the table, and clothes on my body. I also read the Bible daily and let His words be the meditation of the day. The power of His truth never fails to set me free and enables me to grow and move forward, over and over again. It will do the same for you.
5. Set your goal, make your plan
I’m not very organized by nature. I learned the importance of goal-setting and planning in a hard way. But that’s another story for another time. The point is, goal-setting and planning enable your actual work and personal relationships to grow; in turn, it complements your inner growth.
I love what Michael Hyatt said: “A goal is not about what you accomplish. It’s about what you become.”
Even in a challenging season, you are not deprived of purposeful living. Your goals give you a direction to chart the path and move forward.
Goal-setting and planning go hand in hand. For example, if you are a writer, you can set goals to improve your writing or influence. The goal may be “write on your blog once a week” or “write a book proposal by the end of the first quarter of 2021”. Then, you look at your following weeks and days, planning time for small steps like “writing one page per day” to reach your goal.
You can read more about goal-setting here.
Dear friend, I hope my story and these simple practices will inspire and motivate you towards greater growth. Where there is growth, there is abundance. I hope you taste it right where you are.