True Growth

And so continues the emotional rollercoaster saga that is my yucca tree.

Can you have too many blog posts about gardening? Maybe. But I’m willing to push the limits. An interesting thing has happened. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.

The growth that I was searching for, the growth that YouTube promised, is here (insert trumpets and fanfare). But it DOES NOT look the way I thought it should.

And I’m having a hard time accepting that.

My tree was supposed to shoot beautiful new growth from the top of its barren trunk. I was ready for lush green leaves, the perfect height to sit under my off-center livingroom picture. Instead? The top of the trunk died. Died. Dead. Rotten.

But then something popped out of the soil at the base of the tree.

New Growth

I can’t help but feel God is chuckling at me as it parallels my life. I want to prune a bit off here, make a swift cut there, and see gorgeous growth. Instantaneous achievement of the fullness of His solution.

Instead, I see something small poking through the soil of my situation. Fragile. Inconspicuous. Covered with dirt. The growth I’ve prayed for. The growth He’s promised. But it doesn’t look like the growth I imagined. Click To Tweet

So I’m faced with a reality about myself. Do I really want to grow or do I only want instant solutions?

Growth Mindset

I want instant solutions. I want an easy way out. I want a perfect aesthetic without significant effort, perfect circumstances without significant conflict. But the Spirit inside of me wants true growth. The kind of growth that somehow transforms selfishness into selflessness. So I put aside my want for my desire. To be more like Christ.

What does growing in faith mean?

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

and Hebrews 12:6-11 says, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receivesIt is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

Growing in faith means pain in the moment for gain in the future. It means walking through the ugly so I can live in the beautiful. It means patience in hurt while I wait for God’s perfect solution. It means looking a bit more like Christ.

What are some ways God has been growing you?

*Read more about how God is pruning me here.

12 thoughts on “True Growth”

  1. Stephanie, I think it is so interesting most of us would say that we want to grow, but generally it is in the way we imagine! Nature is such a good teacher and example of how new growth often appears where we least expect it. It appears in the cracks of cement sidewalks and walls, out of the stumps of old trees, and even grows around rocks and stumps! And we are just the same. Sometimes, we grow in areas we least expect, in unexpected ways, at unpredictable times. Just as you write, “The growth I’ve prayed for. The growth He’s promised. But it doesn’t look like the growth I imagined.” We need to seek growth and contribute to our growth, but at the same time trust God and the Holy Spirit to provide. Thanks for the post.

    1. I love the thought of growth in the cracks of cement sidewalks and walls, out of the stumps of old trees, and around rocks and stumps. You’re right, it can be unexpected and unpredictable. But always in God’s control. Thank you for these words!

  2. I love your story because I feel the same way, I wasn’t things in my timing and perfect. Waiting on God to do something can be hard but I am a work in progress, thank goodness.

  3. Hi Stephanie. I feel like one of the biggest ways God had been growing me is in my care and love for others. When I was young, I truly cared about very few people above myself, maybe none (if I’m being honest). And that was after I met Christ, too. But as I learned more and more about love being a very central theme in God’s living Word, and in the character He wishes us to have, I also somehow started caring more about people. Later in life, I find myself praying for people, hurting when I hear of tragedy, crying in movies (in the theater!), and sacrificing my time for the benefit of others. God really does change people. Praise Him.

  4. Good thought, Stephanie. I’m a horrible gardener. I don’t understand it. So, most of my life I’ve had the mindset you describe–wanting instant results or easy results. It never gives me what I need.
    I found some solace when I heard a sermon once. The pastor says that the most common analogy for the Christian life is a walk. It’s not a sprint, it’s not an obstacle course. It’s a walk. And all I have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Small gains pile up.
    Thanks for sharing this, Stephanie. I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling this way 🙂

  5. That pruning process is so necessary, It’s not easy to go through, but it sure does do the trick if we approach it with humility. I am growing right now in my journey of faith by learning to walk (not run) throughout my day. I returned to my previous job as Children’s Minister after taking a little over a year off; it’s tempting to burn out quick by trying to do too much with no downtime. I’m learning to walk anyway, listen to God and do exactly what He says. Sometimes (more than not) this means to allow much to be undone. 🙂

    1. That’s so interesting, Marcie and very close to what Chip just mentioned. I know that for myself it can be so hard to leave things undone or to walk away from something. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes it is necessary.

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