Growth

For Christmas this year, I received a bonsai growing kit. I thought, from looking at the packaging, that it would be a cute little tree that I would lovingly prune and water. In my mind’s eye, I imagined it sitting on my desk, soaking up the sunlight next to the African violet. Both of them side by side, needing little care. 

When I opened the package, it had seeds. Seeds. The enclosed literature congratulated me on embarking upon this journey of tree growing and then instructed me to soak the seeds for 12-24 hours, until they sank, then to expand the soil discs with hot water, to scoop the soil into the biodegradable pots (also included). After the earth had cooled, I was to plant 3-5 seeds in each container, and wait 5-10 days for them to sprout, ensuring that they stayed at 65-75 degrees, with indirect sunlight and soil abundant with moisture. You guys, it was NOT a cute little tree, I would need to actually GROW a cute little tree. 

Growth starts out like that. One little seed. We don’t pop out as fully developed trees.

We see people who live wholeheartedly and think, “I want to live that way.” We see people of great faith who can stay in the moment easily, who don’t worry but trust in something greater than themselves and think, “I want to have that kind of faith.” What we don’t see is that the work that went into becoming that wholehearted person. The person of great faith has been practicing trusting in God for a long time. We want crockpot faith but in microwave time. 

Growth starts with a seed but continues past the seedling state. I mentioned the African Violet earlier. This plant is fully developed, and yet if I stop caring for it, it will stop growing and eventually die. Just because it’s reached maturity doesn’t mean it’s done growing. That’s true for all of us. 

I went through a season where I thought I’d reached the pinnacle of my knowledge and understanding of all things related to faith and spirituality. However, things were a struggle.

Work was a hustle, I was lonely, and felt like a stereotype of who I was. I learned that I was suffering from spiritual pride.

I thought I knew who God was and how He thought and what He wanted for you and me and all of humanity. I’d stopped seeking God, having thought I’d found Him. As a result, I stopped growing. Like the root-bound plant, I showed symptoms of my stunted state. I’d become a know it all.

Seek Humbly

No one likes a know it all, plus it puts a barrier up between other people and us. We must continue to seek humbly. Another word for humility is “teachability.” Remaining teachable forces us to drop the know-it-all attitude.

Look for Teachers

When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of growth, we become more open-minded to the teachings of others. Anyone can be your teacher, especially those who bug you. 

Choose to Grow

The spiritual life is not a theory; we have to live it. We are moving down the road. The temptation is to set up camp on the side of the road, “I’ve grown enough. I’m just going to camp out here.” We don’t realize that there may be cool stuff just around the bend. It’s ok to sit and rest, but we should always, as Jesus says, “Take up your mat and walk.” 

Keep moving, keep seeking, keep growing, and one day, you’ll be that inspirational person with the crockpot spirituality. 

Just for Today

I’ll adopt the beginner’s mindset. I’ll take the suggestions of those who have come before me. I’ll practice what they practiced and do the things that they do. When I hear myself saying, “I know,” then I’ll take a step back and ask myself, “Really? Do my actions show that I know?”

Prayer

God help me to continue to grow closer to you, to be like the tree, with steady well-rounded growth. I will never understand your infinite goodness, love, wisdom, and knowledge, simply because I have a finite brain. Encourage me to continue seeking and growing closer to you, shedding my ego and the stories I no longer need. 

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