There are times we can say with certainty, the enemy did XYZ. Then there are those times we know – OUTRIGHT – that the error was our own. A few blogs back, I admitted some of the choices I made in 2017 that were WRONG. Listen, I can own them now, as a mark of maturity. It wasn’t always so easy to admit that the pit I was in, was one I dug for myself. Childish, yes, but the reality is age isn’t an indication that childishness has been irradiated. We can detect that by how we react when we reflect. What is your default when you realize your choice should have been different? How fast do you bounce back? Do you reflect at all? What about repent? That turning away process is an entirely different blog…to come. I won’t be before you long because this sister had a lot to say. I need you to read every word. The blessing can come in the form of someone else’s lesson. ((See what I did there?))
2017 taught me to own my error and take the necessary action to change them…
Today’s sister feature is Antoinette Staples. “How did God grow you in 2017?”
As I think back on my 2017, growth is one of many words that I would use to describe how God moved in my life. It was a year of stretching and learning. It was a year of setting boundaries, making sacrifices, and embracing change. God taught me how to find peace in my progress, perseverance in my process confidence in my in-between stages. You know that weird space between here and there, between then and now, and between what was and what will be. Growth is sometimes the place that you can’t readily identify while it’s happening, but you know that it occurred because you are not where you used to be.
According to the world, growth is defined by “the process of increasing in physical size”. So considering this definition, I often had the misconception that in order to experience growth I needed to see the increase, I needed to see the bigger, the better, the more. While seeing increase is significant, it is not the ultimate reward. Through last year, God showed me that it is less about the increase and more about the process to get there. It is more about the work and intentionality behind the pursuit of my increase. Increase is what you reap once you have sown a little while, so in order to properly sow I had to learn what I needed where I was.
God showed me that there were some areas in my life that I had not yet been freed from. I distinctly remember one night in prayer God said something so profound to me. My prayer was not one of words, but it was one of tears. No words came from my lips and the emotions that flowed were wrapped in tears of defeat and discontentment. In that moment God spoke to my spirit, and said, “I have to let you go through this here, because where I am taking you, there won’t be any time for it there”. At 34 years of age, I had realized that I was still seeking acceptance and desiring approval, and at times it became very crippling and overwhelming. Sometimes lack of support and unrealistic expectations of people can put you in that place. And although I thought I was beyond that, God allowed my broken and confused places to show me that I wasn’t.
So what did God show me about growth? He showed me that growth requires me to acknowledge my broken places so I can allow Him to heal and mend those spaces. God revealed to me that I had to accept my strengths and my weaknesses. God showed me in my growth that forgiveness is necessary, but so is setting boundaries. God showed me that Love is accepting, but it is not ACCEPTANCE – which means love is accepting of flaws, imperfections, and challenges, but it is not without correction and conviction (notice I didn’t say condemnation). God showed me that change is inevitable and the more I embrace it, the more I can learn from it. God showed me that sacrifice is being willing to let go of what I want for the short term, so I can have what God wants for me for the long term.
I won’t say that I figured it all out in 2017, but I will say that God has grown me in many places emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Last year I learned that I have not arrived, but the goal is not to arrive at all, it is to learn as much as God wants to teach me along the journey that leads to my destiny. God taught me that growth is all about my ability to expose my truth- good or bad, not necessarily to the world, but to myself and to Him. I’ve learned to say, “Less of me God and more of you”. That is real increase, and ultimately the best form of growth.