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We were all going merrily about our business and then, whammy!
And nothing has been normal since.
Each of these crisis situations that have taken us out of our normal are God’s way of shaking up our comfort zone, reminding us that we aren’t supposed to rely on “normalcy” or routine, and opening our eyes to the ways we need to grow in Him.
Here’s what I’ve experienced since March:
- I was unkind to my family when we were all locked up at home for weeks on end for the Covid lockdown. I began to realize how much I had depended on routines of alone time to manage my stress.
- I realized that I turn to so many wrong things for a false sense of peace. I spent my time in every possible distraction instead of turning to God.
- From the unjust death of George Floyd I learned that racial equality hasn’t come as far as I thought it had. And I learned that to love my neighbors well I need to listen with compassion to those who suffer under overt or systemic racism.
What have you been experiencing or learning from this “normalcy shake-up”?
If we’re lucky, more will come, because each new struggle brings growth if we walk through it in the Spirit. Each new struggle is a gift from God.
(Do you believe that? Read it again!)
Each new struggle is an opportunity for growth and is a gift from God.
Moving From Thoughts to Action, And From Action to Growth
As we begin to have our eyes opened to the areas of weakness in our spiritual walk, we might hope for long term change, but also be afraid that it will just be a short-lived passion that fades into nonchalance once again.
What can we do to make sure our convictions move into growth?
5-Step Personal Growth Plan
Make list of the ways God has convicted you of an area where you would like to grow.
My example: kindness to my family, time with my husband, encourage college girls from church, reach out to my neighbors, learn more about racial injustice, prayer, …
Pick one area for growth from each category of Out-In-Up. (See my two-minute Tuesday video for the explanation of Out-In-Up.) Add the optional category of Family / Personal.
Out (Being a light in the world) – learn more about racial injustice
In (Being an encouragement in the church) – encourage college girls from church
Up (Growing in my walk with God) – spend more time in prayer
Family / Personal – prioritize time with Steve
3. List Key Obstacles
For each area, make a note of your key obstacle. This will help you find an action step that fits your needs and deals with your barriers.
Out – racial injustice – want good information, not just social media info.
In – college girls – schedule and social distancing complications
Up – prayer – need to prioritize and remember
Family / Personal – Steve time – need to schedule
4. Plan Next Steps
Make a next-step plan for growth in each area. What can you do now to take one step of growth? (Don’t overwhelm yourself with a year-long plan.)
Out – racial injustice – get a trusted friend’s recommendation for a good book to read on the topic, and read it.
In – college girls – start Marco Polo conversations with 2 new girls
Up – prayer – restart listening to the Daily Audio Bible podcast and talk to God about it, before I listen to other podcasts or do Marco Polo.
Family / Personal – Steve – Friday dates with Steve
5. Implement & Grow!
All these great ideas won’t go anywhere if they are too overwhelming. So pick one or two of the growth steps that you will do right now. Keep a hold of the other ideas for later.
Friday Dates with Steve
Daily Audio Bible Podcasts before other podcasts
Pick a book to read about racial injustice and request it from the library
Read a book about racial injustice
This is my Personal Growth Plan. I revisit it every few months, or whenever God brings a whammy realization into my life. In other words, this is a process I walk through whenever I don’t want to let a growth opportunity fade away unheeded.
What about you? What are your next steps for growth? Please comment to let me know!