Change seems to undercut every well-placed, intentional, and sometimes automatic part of the routine that encourages growth. At least that’s what I’ve been finding out. Change uncovers dependencies I didn’t know I had. Since I know that honesty is a prerequisite for growth, I know that I could sabotage my growth this year if I'm not careful. Here are the danger points I want to avoid.
1. I could sabotage my growth by believing that growth is automatic.
While I have been in situations where growth rose to the surface quickly, I wouldn’t call it automatic. Sometimes my own desperation spurred the motivation to reach for God’s ways more specifically because my own efforts were useless. Still, there was a focus to grow, and it was not automatic.
If I want to grow, it must deliberately connect to choices and activities that produce growth.
2. I could sabotage my growth if I don't realize what I need to keep or replace when I let
go of old rhythms.
The rhythms of my life have changed. My husband’s retirement doesn’t just keep him at home more (which I really rather enjoy), it changes our Sundays and the way our lives shot their arrow point toward that pivotal day. I’m still learning what I connected to those rhythms. What I have realized is that I must make sure I don’t neglect something important as I let go of old rhythms.
If I want to grow, I must replace old rhythms with new, growth-producing rhythms.
3. I could sabotage my growth if I give myself too much time to adjust.
I came back from our three week family Christmas visit believing that I would just get everything going again, like always. But everything wasn’t like always. So I thought I would give myself time to adjust. Three weeks later, I’m still trying to find that New Year motivation I have always had. Adjustment has become procrastination, I fear.
If I want to grow, I must introduce the habits that move me forward rather than stall me.
4. I could sabotage my growth if I think that last year’s growth is enough for a while.
A tree is in trouble if it stops growing for a year. Even if fire or drought stopped the growth; the result is the same. I don’t want to be that tree that is forever changed because of a growth cessation, for any reason. I cannot become complacent about growth. Nor can I comfort myself with comparisons that tell me I’m doing better than some. I must grow.
If I want to grow, I cannot allow excuses, even reasonable ones, to stop a personal growth initiative.
5. I sabotage my growth if I let my Sunday changes lower my expectations in worship.
Our retirement from full-time pastoral ministry has changed our Sundays. For now, we are in a different church every Sunday. I can tell you, that without personal determination to worship, my mind wanders and I begin to mark time. More than before, I have to enter His gates with thanksgiving, sing praise from my heart, and open my heart to listen to God. Worship is not based on preference, emotion, or familiarity. Worship is based on focus.
If I want to grow, I set aside the Sabbath for worship, accountability, and listening to God.
I don’t have my growth plan figured out, but I’m working on it. I’ve stopped expecting some things to happen naturally and I am trying to commit myself to new rhythms that will spur growth. It’s not about comfort; it’s about direction and progress. I don’t want to sabotage growth with feeble excuses that I can acknowledge, address, and put behind me.
I want to grow!.
So what about you?
What could sabotage your growth?