Growing Pains

The last year or so has been a time of tremendous growth in my life. This has been totally a gift of grace from God. I don’t say that as some kind of flippantly religious way of trying to sound humble. I just know I don’t have what it takes to bring about the transforming changes that have been happening in and around me over the past months. But the Spirit of God, sent by Jesus to live in me and convict and guide and comfort me – He has power beyond my wildest conception. And He is eager to transform and lead me. So long as I will seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and surrender to His will.

This process of growth has been largely a time of joy and unfolding freedom. But it has not been without pain. I have had to make difficult choices, some of which have left others near me feeling bewildered, hurt, even angry. Even when I feel a conviction of peace about such choices for myself and my family, it hurts deeply to see loved ones so painfully affected. And then there are those times when I take my eyes off the One who is providing and sustaining my growth. My eyes have a tendency to wander to two particularly seductive focal points – potential sources of danger (fear) and a distorted image of myself (pride or shame). I clearly have a long way to grow, even though I have already grown a great deal by the grace of God.

I am so thankful to my Lord for showing the same loving mercy to me that He showed to Peter, who walked on water when his eyes, heart, and faith were fixed completely on Him, but sank like a rock when his focus shifted to the surrounding danger. Jesus was right there with his strong, loving hands to lift up his friend and restore him to the place where he belonged, so he could continue learning, growing, serving, and leading in the ways God had purposed for his life.

May these inspired words convict and sustain you, as they have me for the last day or so:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” – Romans 12:1-3

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