It was almost a year ago today that I sat and wrote my article for the July 2016 messenger. In it I wrote about the impending birth of Clélie, our now 11-month-old. It is hard for me to believe that our “new born” will soon be a 1-year-old. I am amazed at her daily changes; standing, eating different foods, moving faster and faster (not walking yet…), and defying her mother (Ivee says this is proof that she is my child!)
I wonder how God, our parent, sees our growth and discovery as each day, week, month, year passes by? Are we as bold and curious about our life? Do we seek to learn new things, engage others, and tempt fate the way a 1-year-old does? Are we still infants in God’s eyes? Are we growing and changing?
As Christians, our growth and change is important. We NEED to continue seeking a deeper and more prevalent relationship with God. Learning new things about ourselves and our God are pivotal in our understanding and worship of the Almighty.
But, as the old saying goes, “Change is hard.” While this is true, it doesn’t mean that we quit trying to learn, to grow…. to change. In my mind growth (or change) comes from several different areas: Experience, Learning, and Commitment.
By experiencing new and different things (like say people), we get a sense of how others live, what they believe, what motivates them, and who they are. From these encounters we are exposed to different ways of life and ideas. We may find we have something in common with those we meet and form some sort of bond or relationship.
Through the act of experiencing new things or people, we might just learn something. If we take the time to understand new things (or people), we gain a knowledge of them that we did not have before. We can then take that new knowledge to have different understandings. Another example might be scriptures. At the ordination of a deacon, priest, or bishop we make a vow to study Holy Scripture. The reason for this is so that we might learn or be changed. I believe it is every Christian’s responsibility to do the same - ordained or not.
Committing to something creates a type of bond or attachment - perhaps a relationship. Of course there are many things that we are tied to, but are we committed to them.
In my mind there is a difference in being committed and obligated to something. Being obligated implies that there is no freedom in the connection, while being committed implies a dedicated choice. By committing ourselves to change or changing something, we do so freely and with devotion.
Each of these areas brings change, or as we like to say in the church, growth. As a parent I expect it from my children, and I believe that God expects it from God’s children as well. What are we doing to promote growth in ourselves, in our church, in our communities, in this world?