It was just a word at the start of the year that stuck out to me.
Could have been more about change – but it wasn’t
Could have been about just maturity – but it wasn’t that either.
So much has played into this idea that I am not sure where to start. Do I feel like I have grown in the last year?
And I will continue to grow as the years pass on, but I will spend this post looking at some things that I can see specific growth in in the past year.
Growth as a father: Being a dad is one of the biggest challenges of my life. Being an example is not an option, it is a given. I am keenly aware of the ways in which my life will shape the lives of three young people that God has blessed me to look after. It has been a growth process this year as I have tried to be more intentional in the ways that I raise up my children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I have found great encouragement and purpose in learning to lead by example more. I have grown as a father and I will continue to walk this path with humility and God’s grace and grow year by year as my children grow into men and women of faith and character.
Growth in ministry: Opportunities to minister were abundant and I found myself growing and stretching in this area more than I would have expected. Having finished work to be certified as a Disaster Relief chaplain through the SBC, I figured it would be a while before I could put most of this training and skill set into real world practice in a disaster. Family and church commitments were certain to keep me from going too far from home for disaster situations and yet I got the chance all the same. Flooding on a historic scale in Minot brought me face to face with keeping a commitment I had made – to go and serve as a DR chaplain if it was nearby.
There are so many ways that I have grown as a result of the experiences in Minot this summer that it would be impossible to catalog them all. A passion for DR work that I didn’t even know existed has been found and I am now considered the “point man” for our DR response in the North Dakota side of the DBC. This included a trip to Alpharetta for training so that I can train others to be a DR chaplain as well. I am excited to see how God will use this in the future.
I also continued to have the opportunity to fill the pulpit and minister to another church here in town. I was asked to stretch and grow in this area as well. It was a privilege to preach and minister in a wholly different context than what I am normally used to being in and it has been a growing experience for me.
Growth as a blogger: I set several goals for myself this year as a blogger and some of them were directly related to this particular thing. In doing so, I learned something about myself along the way. I have a strong tendency to “jump in with both feet” before I stop and consider the cost or the ramifications. This is kind of a dangerous thing is some places and it is something that Jesus cautioned about as well. Blogging is not my life. In a way, my journey through this year has helped me to grow in such a way as to put blogging in perspective. I no longer come by and check the stats everyday here or at my other two blogsites. I have actually missed the occasional comment for a day or two before noticing it was there. I plan to be a little more intentional in my blogging in the coming year to be sure, but I am already a lot less obsessive about it. And as for arguments on the comments of this blog and others: well, I really have better thing to do with my time. This isn’t to say that I am not up for a good discussion. Discussions and even disagreements keep life interesting and keep me learning, and that is enough for me.
Growth in my personal health: I mentioned this area more than once and as the year comes to a close, I figure I am at a standstill in this one. I took up some efforts to run, but those met with setbacks due to physical issues (there are my flat feet getting in the way). I haven’t given up on that quite yet, but running isn’t a realistic thing around here this time of year either. I eat better overall and I am still making adjustments in my diet. My weight is stable, but I still want to take it to a little lower number in the coming year. If there is one area where I didn’t see “growth” in the way that I expected and hoped to, this is the one.
Growth – the final word: There is probably more that I could write and might even want to write. Growth doesn’t get confined to a season and never return, even though it is often seasonal. Growth isn’t always realized in ways we expect or even want it sometimes. It does come hand in hand with living. Living things grow. Often in ways that are easy to see as well as ways that are imperceptible. That which ceases to grow, dies. So may we all continue to grow and may God bless you to grow in the likeness of His Son above all other growth.