How to Tell If You’ve Stopped Growing

Hard to get out of bed in the morning? Has joy all but disappeared from your life? Still battling the same problems and worries you were 5 – 10 years ago? These are all signs we have stopped growing. So how does this happen?

It’s been said that aging is inevitable but growth aka maturity is optional. Personal growth is a choice. It takes intention and action. Growth doesn’t happen on its own. It happens when we take intentional steps to learn. When we grow we feel more alive, invigorated, and motivated. We look forward to each new day with enthusiasm and passion. We’re not held back by our problems. Joy pours out of us like syrup onto pancakes. Our energy level soars.

Many times it takes a crisis, a setback, or a big mistake to push us into growing and maturing. As I say in my book, “The Power of Faith”, rather than viewing difficulties as obstacles, try to view them as opportunities to grow. Life is a huge university and the trials we encounter are vehicles designed to move us forward into our destiny. As John Maxwell says in his book “How Successful People Win”, there are two basic reasons for our trials: 1) ignorance and 2) stupidity. Either we didn’t know better or we knew better and failed to act properly.

We all go through tough times. I would venture to say without tough times, we would grow very little, if at all. The tough times show us what we are made of and what needs to change. Most people resist change because they get cozy with the status quo. Like the fruit on my counter, if we stay in the same place long enough eventually we will rot. We were made for more. Here’s an example.

We all know people who are divorced. I am one of them. Divorce is ugly and painful and leaves us with deep wounds that take time to heal. We have three choices: we can either learn and grow from the pain; we can turn angry, bitter, and resentful, or we live in denial and pretend we are the innocent victim. Only the first is a healthy response. No matter how awful the other party may have been, we always have our part to play and our lessons to learn.

I learned more about who I am and how my past and my parents influenced me. When I had serious health issues, I realized I needed to make changes in my diet and my thinking patterns. We are, after all, body mind, and spirit. When one part of us is hurting, the other parts hurt as well. As author Wayne Dyer says, there is a spiritual solution to every problem and I agree. Our souls are trying to go to the next level.

Growth and change don’t always feel good at the time. We may experience “growing pains” as we transition into a new season of life, but let me encourage you by saying this. It’s all good. Trials can build character and make us stronger. They can uncover gifts and talents we never knew we had. Growth is good for our souls.

Is it time you felt more joy and energy in your life? If so, try adding something new: a new hobby, a new job, a new relationship. Give it some thought and do post a comment what you and let me know plan to do to expand your horizons.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Work In Progress

Just like the highways around here, I’m a work in progress. How about you? Seems like there is always something to repair, reconstruct, or rebuild. Every time I go through a tough phase, I learn there is something I need to change.

I was talking about our fears and anxieties last time. We all have them, right? But they affect us in different ways. Some of us overeat. Some drink, gamble, work to excess, are afraid to commit to a relationship, or have some addictive habit or behavior to name a few. Others of us are into pleasing, performing, and perfectionism. Many have a problem with responsibility and authority. Sound familiar at all?

Now, don’t get down on yourself. It’s a good thing when we become aware of the negative behaviors and thought patterns that control us. Awareness is the first step to change. When we shine the light of truth on ourselves, we are able to see ourselves and the problem more clearly.

The first thing we can do to break out of any bondage we may be in is to become aware. This involves slowing down enough to focus on my behavior patterns and the thoughts and feelings that accompany them.

Let’s look at over-eating for example. I know I still struggle with it at times. When do I over-eat? How do I feel? What are the thoughts in my mind? What is going on in my life at the time? What am I afraid of? All of these are indicators like warning signs along the road of spiritual and personal growth to guide me along my journey to healing, wholeness, and harmony.

What are you struggling with today, dear one? Fret not, and don’t think you have to lean on your own will-power. Instead, lean on God. It is by his grace and through his power that we are able to overcome the obstacles in our path. 2 Corinthians 12:19 says “My grace is sufficient for you”. Hang on to that promise and you will be victorious no matter what you are facing. God always keeps his promises.

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!