photo © 2009 Edd Prince | more info (via: Wylio)
We have a door frame in our house, on which I mark the heights of my children. We don’t necessarily have set times when we measure them. It seems like birthdays and the new year are good times to take measure, but we also measure them when we’ve noticed a dramatic season of growth. (In other words, we’ve had to restock their jeans and tennis shoe supply … again!)
2010 was a year of tremendous spiritual growth in my life. Like a physical growth spurt, I wasn’t aware of what was happening when I was in the midst of it – though I did experience some growing pains. It’s in hindsight … looking back at the last year, that I find myself caught off guard by the changes that have occurred. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not bragging here. I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve stalled out and even lost ground in my spiritual journey. I don’t take credit for this year’s progress on my own, as I know without question that the Teacher was behind the whole thing. I pray that He continues to see progress in my spiritual growth. (I wonder if he has a door frame for marking such things?)
I am absolutely passionate about spiritual growth and discipleship. I find my goals – whether they are for my speaking, writing, marriage, homeschooling, local church ministry, or they’re personal – all revolving around growing in spiritual maturity. So this year, I’ve made a commitment to document what I’m learning in a more intentional way, and what better way than to blog about it. (I’ve been remiss about blogging for the last year. I think that the master’s degree in ministry, mothering, and writing the book caused a stumbling block for me. That’s my excuse, anyway.)
Every year I write ministry goals … what I hope to see God doing in my writing and speaking, though I hold these loosely since I know that “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I’ve only set two personal goals for the year … to be mindful and to listen. Let me explain. I want to exercise mindfulness in several areas of my life. (No, I’m not talking about meditation, I’m talking about being inclined to be aware.) I want to be …
- Mindful of what God is doing in, through, and around me
- Mindful of the time I spend with Mike and the kids – being fully present and not thinking of a million things on my “to do” list
- Mindful of my body being God’s temple – Am I drinking water, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and resting (D.E.E.R.)?
- Mindful of what I’m learning in my graduate classes and personal study time
- Mindful of what God is doing with the ministry
I also want to listen better. Let’s face it, most of us Type A personalities are adept at multi-tasking, and I confess … I often find myself only half listening to people at times – especially my youngest children. My window of time with my children at home is shrinking and, if I’m mindful of that truth, then I’ll take the time to stop what I’m doing and really listen. I also long to listen for that still small voice that whispers to me. What is God showing me and teaching me through His Word? Am I reading it to check it off my “to do” list or am I being intentional about listening? I’d better be listening.
My blog this year will be devoted to spiritual growth. I have plans to write about what I’m studying and how I’m studying, what God is teaching me, and women in leadership. As I finished writing my book in November, God laid a new book on my heart. I’ll be unveiling that in the coming weeks as I take you on the spiritual journey I go through in writing Christian non-fiction. This new book is going to be based on Nehemiah, so I’ll be sharing what I’m learning as I study and do research.
Have you been experiencing growing pains? Have you stood up against a door frame later and taken measure of your spiritual growth? Now’s a great time to do that. Set some specific goals for how you desire to grow in spiritual maturity in 2011. I’d love to hear your plans and I look forward to sharing this journey with you.