Ever get stuck in a rut? Maybe a pattern of self-repeating, self-defeating behavior? Nah, I didn’t think so. All kidding aside, getting to that place where you can’t see the forest for the trees (or is it the trees for the forest… I can never remember) is frustrating. When I get to that place, I think “I just need a change.” But what do I change? Thankfully, God will lead us in what to change if we’re willing to follow Him.
The Recent Path
Three things have happened to me this past month that have made me realize that I’m walking a bit down the path to growth:
First, my trusty Nexus 5 is in the shop. The seriousness of being phoneless is only surpassed by the hilarity that said state is even a problem. I wasn’t expecting a faulty power switch, but God has funny ways of giving us what we need — a chance to refresh in real life.
Second, it has been painfully, but necessarily brought to my attention that I have a habit of wasting people’s time by talking too much. Now, I know that I talk a lot. But I never realized how bad it was. For the first time, I truly saw how people were avoiding me because I can be an insufferable motormouth who corners people. I am prone to blather on to my own satisfaction without regard to those around me. Honestly, I realized that this character flaw was a symptom of another problem: I had become lax in too many things, especially my time management.
Which leads me to the third thing: moderation. Specifically, caffeine. As I was thinking through my motormouth tendencies, I realized that self-control wasn’t a strong feature in my life. I knew that tended to chatter when well-caffeinated, but somewhere along the way I had stopped paying attention. I sharply reduced my intake to the point just above a caffeine headache. I should’ve done it sooner; the coffee at work isn’t worth drinking all day long anyways.
A lack of a smartphone has also contributed to other moderations. My media consumption has decreased, my concentration has increased, and the quality of my sleep is going up. For me, moderation is usually the beginning of balance.
So, if you’re still here after this whole growth moments report, thanks!
What Are You Doing on Your Path to Growth?
The path to growth requires us to seek a proper view of reality. A wise man seeks after God to define his view of reality. My smartphone is always a threat to my perception of reality. I have to manage how and why I use it according its usefulness — not all of its features. Wrestle with the role of technology (or whatever threatens your view of reality) in your life as one who is breaking a horse; it is only useful when it is under your full control. Likewise, we are most useful when we submit to God’s control.
The path to growth requires us to confront our faults as God reveals them, and repent. I was being selfish, prideful, and pedantic in my speech. Though I had hoped to edify, I was wearing people down. One of my goals is to use what God has given me to add richness to people’s lives, and I wasn’t doing that. Reality can sometimes be as hard as granite.
The path to growth requires us to discard some things. We don’t have time to do everything. We must decide what is important to nurture, then discard the rest. Anything that distracts us from God and His mission should be viewed with an eye towards excision or diminishment. They’re just not worth it in the long run.
So, may I ask you: what are you doing on your path? Are you walking it in faith? Are you sitting or stuck? Are you off in the woods somewhere?
You can trust that God will lead His children in the paths of righteousness. He will point out areas to grow, and then help you grow. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s painful. But maturity is possible.
He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.