Have you ever stood as straight and tall as possible, back against the wall, while your height was recorded?
My childhood home had a wall where such measurements were displayed. A pencil was placed level with the top of my head and a mark made on the wall. If I’d grown, the date and my name would be printed beside this line. The same would happen for my siblings.
I had such a wall for my children and my daughter has maintained this tradition for her children. Down through the generations, we like to see a tangible sign of our growth.
Physical growth is important to record. My grandson, who recently surpassed me in height, can attest to that!
I haven’t gained in height for many years and lately seem to be getting shorter. These days it is other forms of personal growth I’m looking to achieve.
Marks on the wall would make it easier to measure if I’m growing or shrinking but that’s not how this growth works.
Instead I need to ask myself some tough questions. Have I challenged myself to learn something new? Do I explore creative possibilities? When was the last time I stepped out of my comfort zone? Am I reaching out to connect with new people? How am I doing with my commitment to make a difference?
It can be quite comfortable to stay in my safe, predictable routine but that is when my growth stops and my life becomes smaller.
My best intentions have to be put into action to ensure my personal growth. There is no better time than now to stretch myself in new ways. Who wants to join me? Accountability partners are welcomed!
A few crisp brown leaves scutter across my second story deck. The chinook winds have stripped most trees of their leaves. A few, however, seem to refuse to release their once vibrant fall foliage.
I look at one leaf, fluttering wildly to escape as the tree holds on tenaciously. It is inevitable that the leaf will eventually be let go. This is a natural and necessary part of the life cycle.
I understand the reluctance to let go of what has contributed rich colour to my life. There comes a time, however, where holding onto the past prevents me from moving forward. I can appreciate the past and how it has shaped me into who I am today but know I can’t stay stuck there. With gratitude for lessons learned, I now need to focus on what’s ahead.
That doesn’t mean the letting go is easy. Far from it. The familiar is comfortable and feels safe. It may not be exciting or challenging but it also doesn’t involve risk and uncertainty. Unfortunately, this comfort zone prevents me from growing.
Instead of mourning the end of a season, I choose to welcome a new one. Each season has its own beauty and, as the trees are entering a period of replenishment during this time, so shall I. Without past expectations holding me back, I am free to gather knowledge and skills to help me grow.
Like the approaching winter, I have no idea what this season will bring or how long it will last. What I do know, is I will not be the same at the end of it as I am at the beginning. My life will continue to grow and change as new experiences and opportunities are presented and embraced. Let the possibilities begin!
We were on a walk along the beach when my husband drew my attention to the wall. The solid wall separating two properties had three strategically placed openings. They were in the right places to accommodate the palm trees growing next to it.
It was interesting to see the concession made to nature. The trees would be able to grow and flourish because space had been allowed for them. They had room to spread out as needed.
It made me think of the walls I put up in my life. Do they block me from thriving or allow me space to grow? What I intended for protection may actually be hindering me by holding me back.
When I examine my wall, I see it is built from fear. Fear of failure and fear of rejection are the main building blocks. They are strong, powerful and not easily displaced.
I realize that I, like those trees, need room to grow. This can only happen when I start removing pieces of the wall by opening myself up to new experiences. When the light and space of possibilities reaches me I can grow to the person I was intended to be.
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety. – Abraham Maslow
I hadn’t seen my thirteen year-old granddaughter in a few weeks and went to give her a big hug. Something felt different and I realized she now surpassed me in height.
When I commented on this she crouched down to make me appear taller. I asked her to stand back up again and told her that I never wanted her to be “less than” she really was.
Later, I explained that we are all equal in God’s sight. She has special talents and abilities to share with the world and playing small robs others of the gifts she has to share.
In the book, Return to Love, Marianne Williams said “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
This may have been a deep message to give someone my granddaughter’s age. I understand what a crucial time this is in her life and I remember the self-doubts that started in my teens and continued for many years.
They are still able to interfere with my life today. Perhaps the message was as much for me as it was for her. My talents and abilities are not the same as hers but each of us is an important part of the body of Christ. As such we need to rise to our full potential and use the gifts we’ve been given.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (Romans 12:4-6 NLT)