We don’t want to. We try not to. We keep pushing. But sometimes it happens. And easier than you might think.
We stop growing.
I’ve learned that when it comes to growing, I can be my own worst enemy. Here are the barricades waiting to stop me or send me in an unwanted direction. Can you relate?
Anger. I can find at least a hundred things to be angry about. And I can blame God for at least 50 of those. Most of the time, my anger is really frustration and fear wearing a devilish disguise. I can justify my anger. I can aim my anger at people who aren’t even on earth anymore. I can vent in the privacy of my car and paste a smile on my face everywhere else. Guess what! That anger simply drains my joy, steals my confidence, and disconnects me from those who can really make a difference in my life.
When the darkness of anger fills me, I stop growing.
Refusal to learn. I never want to be the woman who says, “I’m just too old to learn anything new.” That’s the dam that holds me back from the life-giving waters of new experiences, new knowledge, new input, new pathways, and all newness. Instead of letting the new overwhelm me, I want to open my heart and mind to all the new God wants to give me. I have to admit that the old is gone so I can make room for the new.
When the stubbornness of not wanting to bother starts controlling me, I stop growing.
Self-pity. As Pastor Jason Perry tells me: “The enemy loves to cater pity parties.” When I focus on myself and forget about everyone else, I’m the host and the only guest at my own personal pity party. And spending that much time and energy on self puts everything else in the dark. Not very much can grow in the dark.
When I turn the spotlight on me and everything that’s wrong, I stop growing.
Isolation. The more time I spend alone, the easier it is for me to spend time alone. Of course, my bed, my TV, my couch, my quilt are going to try to pull me into that self-made cocoon of comfort. But as you may have found out, there’s not much going on there. No interaction with others. No interesting experiences. Just recycling more of the same that wasn’t very good in the first place.
When I retreat from connecting with others, I stop growing.
Ignoring God and God’s Word. This is the worst. Cutting myself off from the lifeblood of love and grace is spiritual suicide. My feet start dragging. My mind starts short-circuiting. My heart gets cold. My soul starts crying out. If I want to mess up everything else in my life, disconnecting from God is the surefire way to do it.
When I make time for every other productive and non-productive activity and don’t make time for God, I stop growing.
If any of these challenges are keeping you from growing, I have some advice for you: “Stop making excuses. Start growing again.” It’s never too late to grow. Growth improves your life. Really, growth makes your life worth living.
What will you do today to keep growing? Or maybe even to start growing again?
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2017 by Laura Warfel