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I think there is a funny transition that happens to us when we are finally out of school. We spend years being poured into by teachers, professors, and mentors only to graduate and feel like we are “done”.
I know I said it: “I’m so happy to finally be done!”
And I was. I waddled across the stage at graduation seven months pregnant with our first son. It had been a crazy last year of school; Brian and I had gotten married while I was only half way done and so I think I first looked forward to being done with school as the time that we could take a deep breath and relax a bit. I was working a lot to pay for tuition and nights were consumed with homework. Then later when Ethan was on the way, morning sickness entered the equation and I’m really not quite sure how we managed to make it through that last year. I think I started believing that I would sleep after graduation and we’d be a little family with a normal routine…
And of course those of you who are parents are laughing right about now. Newborns bring a whole new meaning to the terms of sleep deprivation and routine (or lack thereof…).
And I was “done”. All that had been invested in me was being poured into others.
Except that we really aren’t ever done. No one is ever really finished growing.
It is way to easy to mistake our formal education for growth and once what we are being forced to learn is finished, we start resting on our laurels. Learning things isn’t necessarily the same thing as growth either; it’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge lets us be aware of ourselves and wisdom lets us stitch all pieces of ourselves together so that we are the same thing in all circumstances. Wisdom begets character and character begets integrity.
The trouble is that this doesn’t happen by accident.
I know. I’m trying to teach it now to what I like to refer to as my “circus” and an Olaf beanie wearing one at that.
And it starts with me. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve seen myself in them and realized I needed to grow although sometimes, I grab the camera first! Seriously though, it requires intentionality.
Intentionality doesn’t mean that is has to be hard.
Which is why I wanted to share this month’s Thoughtful Reads book with you: How People Grow by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. It breaks down the psychology behind growth and how to be intentional about your own growth since all growth is directly related to our relationship with God.
Because we are never really done. The moment we think we are is the exact moment we have something new to work on. Sometimes filling our head with knowledge is holding us back because we start resting on that instead of leaning in to what we need to in order to shave off the dead layers of our hearts and sew together our brokenness.
We can’t do it without God. He knows us best and uses the pain and trials of life to shape us into the people He’s designed us to be. But it won’t happen if we don’t lean into Him. I’ve had a crazy year and as much as I wish it could have been easier, God hasn’t wasted any of it and is still calling me to run to Him. In circumstances like this though, it’s easy to lose our focus if aren’t intentional.
If you need a great summer reading book, try How People Grow. You can pick up a copy here through Amazon; this is an affiliate link and you won’t pay any more for using it, but any purchases made here will give me a small commission to help keep this site running. Thank you so much for your support! This book has been one of my favorites since I first picked it up years ago and I think I cried through reading parts of it.
If you’ve read it, what did you think? Also, I’d love to hear what books you have felt really impacted your growth? I’m always looking for new ones; after all, I definitely could grow some more too.