Growth from Grace and Gratitude
When you invite grace and gratitude into your life, growth will happen. What may surprise you is growth is grown in the soil of adversity. The good news? Grace and gratitude make great tools for digging in there. Adversity doesn’t have to be on the scale of Superman taking down the villain. In fact, adversity usually shows up in my life in pretty simple ways that require me to do one thing. If you are honest, this one thing has probably tripped you up a few times also. That thing is trust. I must trust myself and my creator.
At some point, like the heroes and heroines of your favorite books, you will discover your strength and growth by overcoming difficulties in your life. Let’s play with the Superman (or Superwoman) analogy for a minute. What makes the story interesting? Is it because the enemy shows up and our hero (heroine) flicks them with one finger and ‘bam’ story over? Conflict resolved. Nope. In our lives, just like the story, he/she continues to find a way to overcome. There may be a misstep. Usually there is a place where they fall. In our own lives we call that failure. But…we are wrong.
“Every strike brings me closer to the next homerun.” – Babe Ruth
You gotta Swing, Baby!
What the baseball legend was telling us was this: Growth must be chosen. Again. And again.
Growth is defined as a process of developing. Sometimes it is erroneously referred to as change. Just as movement isn’t only forward, change is not always growth. But if you are developing, changes will show up. Think of the growth that will happen in your life as holy ground. Give it reverence and patience. In the previous blog, What is Grace, I said grace comes unearned. Recognizing that you have it makes your life fertile for growth. It enables me (and you) to receive blessings with gratitude and also to be grateful for bloody knuckles and noses. (And I pray your dreams do not require you to actually get bloody, unless you are a superhero or professional fighter.)
A difficult lesson that I’m still learning is failure, struggle, whatever term fits, requires me to trust. Big Time Trust. Trust, I’ll be okay. I’ll get better. That each failure is followed by a growth spurt. And a deeper faith in a power higher than mine own to see me to the other side (Grace). You see, I believe we harbor big dreams. Perhaps it is true they are bigger than we are. At least they are bigger than we are when we start to dream them. Now, you realize, you have potential to grow! Scary? Sometimes. Exciting? Every Time!
The second most important lesson is asking for help. It wasn’t possible for someone else to stand at home plate with Babe and swing the bat for him. But it is possible to be coached. It is possible to gain knowledge. And in many things in life, it really is possible for someone else to lend a hand. To cook a meal for you when you are sick. To drive for you when your car is in the shop. Asking for help is a brave thing to do. It is also an action on your part that gives you ample space to practice gratitude with a “thank you”. Grace and Gratitude are both vital.
What Can End Your Growth?
Witness my deceased potted plant.
It was lovely when I left home for a week’s vacation. When I returned, growth had ended. Nothing I could do would revive its thriving. The condition is permanent. So sad. But you nor I are dead. I know this because you’re reading this blog and I am writing it! I may feel wilted. You may feel stagnant. We can feel lots of things and they are ALL affirming, there is hope. We are alive.
The only power I know of which rivals death in people is fear. It is a close second. So close, you may believe it a permanent condition. Yet, it is second place for a reason. In the case of my flowering vine, a drop of water was useless. But for you, a drop of courage is a miracle. Overcoming even the smallest twinge of fear brings growth. Again.
Growth is more than change. And you desire growth. It is life affirming. Growth in your life will happen with ebb and flow. No different from nature, growth in our lives requires a cycle. A seed can’t be seen. A tender sprout needs protection. Practice care in how and with whom you share your budding dreams. In time you get a harvest and then allow rest for a short period. Let’s grow in grace. And leave judgement out in the heat to wither and die by practicing gratitude!
If you are looking for part 1 and part 2 of this three part series of Grace, Gratitude, Growth, I’m leaving the links below.