I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Brittney Robinson Smith (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
Can you look over difficulties in your life and see you were growing the whole time? Until recently, I couldn’t. I was so distracted by the messiness of growth that I missed the forest for the trees, so to speak. I was too close to the process to see what God was doing. Like Peter in John 13:1-7, we don’t always have the benefit of understanding what God is doing from the start. That gift is often gained as we go. In that passage of scripture, Jesus began to wash Peter’s feet, but when Peter refused. Jesus replied,
What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.
Jesus leveling with our issues can make us want to hide, but growth means God exposing our need for His grace.
So when God starts exposing you to you, don’t be afraid. During this time, it may seem like all you notice are the bad things about yourself, but ask God for a different view. When I started getting constructive about the negative things I saw in myself instead of beating myself up about them, I was able to notice God inviting me to grow. Here are some signs God may be inviting you to grow too.
1.You start challenging patterns of thinking.
There were times in my life where I didn’t do much confronting myself. I really didn’t know I needed to or how to. Let me tell you, it takes a ton of honesty. Be honest with yourself about where you are and where you want to be. Don’t just tell yourself what you’ve always rehearsed internally. Don’t just tell yourself what you’ve always heard other people say. Be honest with God about how you really feel about situations in your life. And do that again and again.
2.You feel neglected.
God is growing His people, but sometimes growth feels like neglect. Consider how God made seeds to grow. They grow when they are planted which means they cannot be touched or physically manipulated by the harvesters. They pretty much get left alone, isolated, but we know what the seed doesn’t know. Things are happening above and around to nurture it. Remember, your growth is controlled and orchestrated by God too.
The second definition Google gives for “growing pains” is; the difficulties experienced in the early stages of an enterprise. Simply put, if you’re facing any difficulties in your life, your health, your emotions, your faith, your job, relationships. It is an invitation for you to grow through it. Resist the temptation to be discouraged in the face of difficulties, as if you’re getting this whole life thing wrong.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this, invitations require a response. When we say yes to God’s invitation to grow, we are saying yes to working toward who God has planned for us to be. It’s not always easy to see who we’re becoming, but I trust she will be whole.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: