My New Approach to Personal Growth Inspired by a Two-Year-Old

ScalesI’m still pondering the pursuit and practice of balance during this first week in January.  Spiritual equilibrium was the subject of my last post, but the management of input and output in pursuit of growth extends to our personal, emotional and creative lives as well.

Personally, I desire to grow in skill and add to my knowledge which requires absorbing new information and ideas and then applying and practicing what I learn.

Relationships are important to me, so I make it a priority to spend time with family and friends.

Creatively, I struggle to find time for inspiration from newspapers, experiences, blogs, books and just living life along with time to write a (hopefully ) worthy post or two each week.  Perhaps my fellow bloggers can help me here.  I greatly admire those of you who post engaging entries daily.  How do you do it?

In addition to balancing each of the above there is the challenge of managing a life that includes all of the above and more.

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing this. (‘ya think?)

SwishI can imagine no better example of vibrant   growth than that of a two-year-old.  Our grandson lives each day as an adventure of exploration and education as he plays, interacts with people, observes, asks questions and expresses himself.

He has no plan Balance is of no concern to him.  His growth is natural, and it looks effortless.

What he does have is wise, responsible and loving parents who make sure he eats healthy food and gets enough Oliver and Poohsleep.  They read to him and talk with him (in two languages.)  They provide opportunities for play and interaction, and they insist on boundaries.  In other words, they have set up an environment in which he can’t help but grow.

I’m definitely over-thinking.

So here’s my new approach (not a plan!)

With renewed commitment to a spiritual stream of living water, filled from the Source and then overflowing into service, I will try to treat every day as an opportunity to grow under the care and oversight of my Heavenly Father.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”  2 Peter 1:3

IMG_0387But, I still have a responsibility to manage my days and to actively engage in the process.

I’ll just leave the planning to Him.  That is far easier said than done for an over-thinker like myself.  I’ll let you know how it’s going!

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brother kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”    2 Peter 1:5-8

I’d love your thoughts and ideas on balancing a busy life.  Really.

11 thoughts on “My New Approach to Personal Growth Inspired by a Two-Year-Old

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  1. Great post Judy! I agree with Ali, there is nothing wrong with having certain plans so long as we see them as a vehicle at the moment rather than the destination. Two things come to mind. One is a quote by Dallas Willard. “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” Sometimes we think that grace negates effort/plans but that is not necessarily the case. We just have to be sensitive to how the Spirit is leading as we are following a particular plan. The second pertains to following the lead of the Spirit and is a phrase from Romans 8:4 in The Message. “And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.” I like the way Eugene Peterson phrases this because I tend to be a “double my efforts” kind of guy but have been feeling challenged lately to explore what it means to simply embrace what the Spirit is doing since it is His role to bring about our transformation. Thanks for inviting our feedback and God bless!

    1. Thanks Rick! I detect a unifying thread in these helpful comments, and you have summed up beautifully. Spirit led activity, even effort; not earning. Planning “as a vehicle rather than the destination.” (Love that phrase!) Faith in what God has done; not striving to “do” in own strength. Resting; not over-thinking. Now, for the hard part: actually living that way!

  2. There ain’t nothing with being an over-thinker (then again, I am one). But I think it’s important to plan and strategise to some degree. We need to plan and block out time for the things we find most important – otherwise they don’t end up happening. Goals, whether they are working through the book of Proverbs during February, carving out two nights a week to pamper ourselves, or aiming to write a book before the end of the year – help us to focus and remember our priorities and desires. It doesn’t mean we don’t rest in His grace or beat ourselves up if it doesn’t happen – it just means we are fully ‘awake’ and aware of what we are aiming for rather than just drifting through life. Ultimately, whatever we do will only be satisfying if it flows out of the love we have for God and His purposes. May you follow His lead as you order each day and keep being a blessing to others with your awesome gifts 🙂

    1. Thanks Ali (and fellow over-thinker:). Being “fully awake and aware of what we are aiming for” is important for me. If I’m not, I will surely fritter away my days. Yes, may we both simply follow His lead!

  3. I’m here to glean from you and the comments. ! Not much help, huh? haha! Each time I kind of get a plan and start out on it, something usually happens and it crashes and burns. So I guess for me, I have to remember my priorities . spend time with God and in His word each day, loving Him, and to love my family and neighbors as best I can. Then whatever else gets done is a big blessing and miracle to me. God bless you, Judy, and all that He has for you in this coming year!

  4. Years ago, I heard Joyce Meyer tell a story about herself. It seems Meyer had spent time with an intercessor who routinely prayed five to six hours per day. Meyer was impressed and decided to do the same.

    She told her family that she was going down to the basement to pray for four or five hours and could not be bothered for anything. She locked the door and went downstairs to a sofa. There she prayed for ten minutes, fell asleep, and woke up four hours later.

    Meyer did not have the grace on her life to pray like the intercessor did and most likely, the intercessor could not teach like Meyer.

    We need to walk in the grace we have right now and if we want, we can always cry out for more grace. So, Judy, relax, don’t overthink, and walk in the grace that you have.

  5. Hi Judy,
    I find that the more I work at my spiritual growth, maturing etc. the more I fail, I never seem to get there, there is always a long road ahead. In contrast when I see myself as complete in Christ, fully aprehended by the work of Christ, having arrived spiritually – then my striving ceases and the Holy Spirit within begins to slowly do the work in me that I was so eager to do myself. In a sense, the only work I do is to believe that Jesus did everything. Cheers Graeme

    1. Right – it’s the striving that gets in the way. A toddler does not strive for anything. He is active but not striving – there is a big difference. Thanks for your thoughts, Graeme.

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