Too many people are stuck. They don’t change and/or they don’t grow. They don’t grow in their capacity, in their character, in their abilities, in the way they live in their relationships, in the way they think or in the way they behave. Too many people never experience who they were created to be and who they could become. Of course not everything needs to be changed, but most everything requires us to grow. If something is good in us, that needs to grow. If something is bad in us, that needs to be changed.
Just as it’s important for a seed to die to bring forth something beautiful and useful, we also need the pain and “death” of growth and change so the seed that’s planted in us could become what it was designed to become.
In this passage above (Isaiah 54:2-3) God promises growth. But before his promise of “you will spread abroad to the right and to the left”, he also gives some prerequisites of growth. These are things we need to do in order to experience growth.
It’s normal for us all that as kids we were growing (physically, intellectually, mentally, relationally, etc.) and adults around us made sure that we were supplied with everything that supported our growth (food, knowledge, friends, experiences, etc.). But becoming an adult does not mean that we stopped growing. What has changed is that our own growth now became our own responsibility. Our parents will not be there to make sure that we do the right things to enhance our growth.
How to grow as an adult?
In the passage above God gave three commands before he gives us the promise of growth. If we want to grow in our life the following three things we need to do and be intentional about:
- “Enlarge the place of your tent.” Enlarging our space talks about the needed environment of growth. Spaces are defined by people, activities and time. The common activities of people will create a space. Enlarging that space is a must for growth. Your growth will be determined by how you spend your time, with who you spend your time, where you spend your time and doing what you spend your time with. Growth requires us to find/create the right space around us. What we do with who and where will be detrimental for our growth. If you are not growing, it’s possible that you are not surrounded by the right people, you are not doing the right thing or you are not spending your time well. You will not grow if you don’t change your space around you (time, people and activities). You might be stuck because you never change who you surround yourself with or how you spend your time. You are responsible for your own growth. Nobody else can change how you spend your time and with who you spend your time. The right people, the right environment and the right things you spend your time with will enhance your growth.
- Does the environment you are in helping you to grow (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, in your skills, in maximizing your talents, etc.)? Are you challenged by that environment to grow, to learn new skills, to develop your character, to learn perseverance?
- Are you surrounding yourself with the right people who encourages you to grow? Are they inspiring you to know more, to be more, to love more, to walk by faith more, to live healthier and to be more like Christ? Remember: you will become who you surround yourself with!
- “Do not hold back.” Give the maximum wherever you are. Who you become during the process is more important than what your actual work that you do. The most important growth is the growth that happens in your character. Most character-growth happens through persevering difficult circumstances. (Read Lamentations 3:26-30.) With the right character you can then develop your skills. You need to be intentional. Passivity will never lead to growth.
- Where are you holding back? In what areas of life you are not giving all you could?
- “Strengthen your stakes.” Make intentional efforts to make your foundations in life (your values, your faith, your relationship with God) strong. Those solid foundations will keep you when storms will toss your tent of life and will provide stability for you as you are tackling your growing responsibilities.
- Are you growing in the foundations of your life? Will those foundations hold strong when storms will come?
- What do you need to change now so you could build a stronger foundation?
Yes, growth is painful. That’s why many are stuck. They don’t want to experience the pain and/or sometime “death” that comes with growth. There are things you need to change in you, there are routines that need to be unlearned, there are relationships that need to be changed – all represents pain and fear and a certain death.
Most people are stuck in their growth (relationally, spiritually, mentally, in their skills, etc.) because they don’t do one or all these three things:
- They don’t change their space. It’s convenient to have the same friends, the same routine, same places, same activities, etc.
- They don’t give their maximum efforts. They are lazy, they are fearful, they choose comfort over growth.
- They don’t focus on growing their relationship with God.