Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing Up and In

I love that day in the spring where I look back into the woods behind my house and it is green.  The day before the woods were nothing but brown trunks and tan patches of dead leaves.  I love the sudden surprise of buds open and new leaves exploding out of the russet.  I even love the greenish-grey shadows the leaves now cast into the woods.  The surprise of new growth and life is so sudden that it grabs your attention.

I am like one of those trees in the woods behind my house.  I am a fruit tree and a vine.  I am called to be like a mustard seed.  I can try to put roots down in shallow rocky soil, but I will die off from lack of strength and nourishment.  I can simply lay on the hard ground where the wind tosses me and never grow at all.  I can let my roots sink down into fertile soil, grow, and bear fruit.  I choose to grow.

I don’t equate bon-bons with books.  It is not lazy or selfish to take time to nourish yourself and grow in wisdom and understanding.  If I become so isolated from life that my world revolves solely around my role as a parent, I will slowly draw away from my own identity…and from my God.  No growth means that I am fine, perfect, just as I am.  No savior or grace, please, I can manage this on my own.  Just give me the status quo.  I need to read, write, exercise, learn something new, and interact to see life and to see myself.  What is the wisdom in taking time to better myself?  Should I focus on my imperfections and constantly strive to be more, know more, get more?  No, of course not.  But there is wisdom in a steady diet of carefully tending, cultivating, my own identity and spirit. 

  • If I know who I am, as an individual child of God, and know my gifts then I can better serve.  I will have healthier relationships with the people around me because I am rooted in Christ (not my children, who are fallible…really fallible). 
  • My children will learn by watching me that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I will demonstrate learning and growing throughout all walks in life. 
  • It is hard to have patience and extend grace to others when I am not good about these things with myself.  When I take the time to learn something new, especially something hard for me, then I grow in patience.  That patience can be extended to others in my life.
  • Exercising your brain has been shown to reduce the risks of mental issues when you are older, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Want to play checkers with your grandkids?  Exercise your brain now.

So what do you do to grow and enrich your own life?  While I highly suggest reading the Bible and praying; those probably won’t teach you how to knit or how to work “in the cloud.”  Me?  I write this blog. J  You really wouldn’t believe the amount of reading, researching, and re-writing that goes into this project.  I know my grammar may not always show it, but this is definitely a brain-enhancing project.

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