What it Means to Grow

As I kid I thought I’d stop growing once I turned 18, when I reached my full height and when my shoe size stopped changing. The further I get from that milestone birthday, however, the more I understand how important it is to keep growing—growing not in physical stature but in fully becoming who I am and fully living out the purpose designed for me. 

I like Merriam-Webster’s definition of growth: to spring up and develop to maturity. If only our minds, hearts and souls sprang up and developed to maturity as quickly as our bodies! Once we hit adulthood, the work of becoming holistically mature truly begins. 

We were meant to grow. Long after our legs and fingers stop getting longer, our ability to understand others, make sense of experiences and manage ourselves also grows. (Hopefully!) Growing is one of the seven features of a living organism. In other words, growth is a part of life; in order to live, we must grow!

I believe the true work of personal growth is becoming the best person we can be. That means we’re developing our character, perspective, gifts, passions and dreams so we can make the greatest difference in the lives of those around us. It’s a lifetime of work that’s as exhilarating as it is arduous. 

Growth is a demanding endeavor. It demands nothing less than time, energy, honesty, risk-taking, and responsibility. 

It takes time to chip away at what we falsely believe about ourselves and grasp who we really are. It takes time to hone new skills and develop new passions. It takes time to realize our dreams. 

It takes mental, physical and spiritual energy because growth is an intense journey. We need to care for our minds, bodies and souls so we keep going on our very personal growth journeys. 

It demands honesty with ourselves as we acknowledge where we’ve come from, where we are now and realistically, but with hope and vision, where we want to go. 

It takes a willingness to face our fear of failing and risk what others think of us in order to become the best version of ourselves. There are no guarantees. But whatever life throws our way, God means it to spring up character and develop maturity in us. He’s always working to grow us and uses every part of our story to help others grow, too. 

Lastly, growing takes a willingness to step up and be responsible for our lives. Making excuses and playing it safe are the opposite of responsibility-taking; no one else can make our dreams come true. No one else can do the work required to grow us. 

In the coming weeks we’ll access 1) how well we’re tapping into our growth-potential,  2) how growth leads to joy and 3) how collaborating with others helps us grow.

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