Opportunities for growth exist all around us.
By opportunities for growth, I mean situations which may seem uncomfortable or unmanageable to us. We may have the tendency to avoid dealing with them, but with the Holy Spirit’s illumination we can receive them as a lesson and they can become avenues we take to grow.
We might otherwise imagine growth opportunities as activities to do or classes to sign up for. But in the school of the Holy Spirit, there are no classes to sign up for.
Life is the class!
The materials we need in God’s school are the following:
1) a teachable heart
2) a listening ear (to His Spirit and His Word)
3) a willingness to learn how to step out and receive the blessing
4) an openness to share what we learn with others
We know that God is at work everywhere, but do we see that He is actively at work in our lives? Do we see that many growth opportunities are staring us in the face? Regardless of our awareness of the opportunities or our closeness to Christ, we can always learn. After all, learning His heart and His ways is how we gain intimacy with Him.
An opportunity for growth was staring me in the face. A relative of mine had hurt me all my life, but I couldn’t see the behavior as hurtful because I had never known how not to hurt. At that time in my naive mind I thought that being hurt was normal. Then God showed me the power and depth of His love for me and that it was time that I address the issue. As my realization of this grew I began to sense God leading me to withdraw from the relationship. This was a painful choice. But less painful than staying close.
Over the years, the once-close relative learned that to maintain a relationship with me, certain criteria are required. Firstly, behavior that is destructive to me is not welcome. The behavior is unwelcome regardless of whether the other agrees with my conviction. Secondly, for us to have a healthy relationship each party is required to adjust within reason for the other. Today the relative has learned to appreciate my requirements and the way that they benefit us both. As a result of my boundary setting, we have a better relationship than we did before and enjoy more contact and mutual growth.
Sometimes we fail to see God at work because we live blind and numb, lost in the monotony of recurring schedules and issues and media-coma. Anything and everything distracts us from what’s important.
Sometimes pride and fear get in the way of listening to the Holy Spirit or being willing to take that next step forward in our situation. But pain gets our attention. Pain gives us the message that we need to take action. When God identified as toxic the pain I had always felt as normal, I paid attention and let Him lead me to take steps to heal it.
Every relationship we have is an opportunity for growth. Our relationships are there for the purpose of growing us. Relationships are the heavenly sandpaper God often uses to conform us to His image. Is a relationship calling us to learn to enforce personal boundaries? To speak up for ourselves? To give others their deserved space? To release control? To trust God instead of bulldozing? To learn to listen? To apologize? To slow down, step out or wait?
Every personal struggle we endure is an opportunity for growth. Those rumblings we hold back down inside are speaking directly to us. In fact, underneath those rumblings cries the new creature to be released from within. Is a personal struggle calling us to learn to tip the bucket of tears? Accept something that we cannot change? Surrender to God’s leading? Conquer the hidden fear? Release the burden? Change course? Revisit that buried place inside that we know secretly controls daily life?
Every situation we face is an opportunity for growth. God knew from the foundation of the world that our particular situation would occur. And He has provided for us a way to cope and grow through it. Dare we turn around and face Goliath as little David? Dare we step out on the waves as Peter did? Dare we trust God in following Him and that He will do as He promises?
Opportunities for growth are everywhere. Let’s not overlook them or the One Who’s calling us to grow through them.
Ask God to illuminate your circumstances and reveal the next step you can take to healing. Then trust Him and take the step.
Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].
And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain. These things I have determined to do [for them]; and I will not leave them forsaken.
He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus.
1 Samuel 17:50
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck down the Philistine and slew him. But no sword was in David’s hand.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”