Wednesday, December 13, 2017

G is for Grow!

June 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

A friend sent me a quote from author Anaïs Nin: “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I chomped off this bud, masticating thoroughly as science lessons came floating back: chick fighting to get out of eggshell, butterfly, pruning bushes, baby eaglet heartlessly pushed out of the nest; my parents demanding money from me when I always lived there for free.

As cruel as life seems at this stage, the next phase can’t happen till this first one is finished. Life is wired for growth, expansion, and fruitfulness, yet what precedes it often looks like just the opposite of positive change. To top off this disgusting cycle, not responding to the discomfort of stretching, breaking, or being thrown out of the nest results in weakness, withering, and worse. So, much to my chagrin, I’m growing increasingly passionate about our becoming proactive with life. Why?

  • so we can freely live to our fullest
  • without sabotaging ourselves
  • without hurting others
  • fulfilling God’s plan for us
  • so God gets the glory for his miracle child
  • so we can share this great news
  • and help others walk with him

Life isn’t always what we choose, and when it comes to change, we can treat it in one of two ways: as the death knell to our comfort zone, or the daring opportunity to grow. Well, okay, as both. Our mission is to grow into our personal Proactive ABC’s and pass them on to others. If you’re tired or stressed out with the same ole story-line of your life—what are you gonna do about it! Let’s turn to the next page and write a new script. How does that work? The acronym is G-R-O-W:

Give from your heart.

Well, here I go starting with something hard here, especially if you’re in the throes of loss. But you can take it, I know you can. Giving is the essence of God’s love. There is no excuse to not give in life. Not a broken heart, not betrayal, boycott, lack or loss; neither anger nor hurt nor righteous indignation. We give because he gives to us. Because he wants us to. Because in Jesus we now have a fighting chance to do it with no strings attached.

Whether your world currently is caving in, or when your world looks quite awesome doesn’t matter. It’s God’s attitude of giving that will free you from your same-ole, same-ole plot and that new page can grow into a new story.

Rest in your labors.

When I’m stressed to the max, I can imagine God groaning again, “She’ll never get where she’s going, never gonna be able to sit down and rest” (Heb. 3:11MSG).  “Why does she think she must stay so busy to please me? What’s with that mistaken impression she has to invent and carry out every detail, each impossibility . . . that she has to carry the weight of the world on her back? There goes that trust level—tanking again.”

Life can become a drudgery even “working for the Lord.” I’m pretty sure it’s because I haven’t refreshed my heart consistently in his Spirit. The very word, spirit, means breath. Like a cool scented breeze on a humid day, God can breathe his joyful rest into us, carrying us away for brief moments to refresh our hearts, reminding us he still holds the reins.

Open to possibilities.

A professor once whispered this concept to us: “break the binaries.” Instead of seeing only either-or scenarios in every image of life, deliberately look for solutions beyond the first two obvious ones. It’s quite likely God has a bigger bolder plan for his glory to be shown through you, in spite of you. Practice.

Try answering in a different tone of voice. Talk to someone new. Jot down another ten possibilities. Go someplace different this week; order something new from the menu; invite different company over; start a new hobby; move to a new state. Instead of accusing, ask for forgiveness. Instead of running, turn around and face those demons in Jesus’ name.

Widen your reach.

Isaiah 54 begins with God carrying some special one— whether it’s an individual or a nation—through a rite of passage that makes “pruning” look like a few nail clippings: betrayal, rejection, humiliation, and utter hopelessness. If anything’s more painful I don’t want to know what it is. Yet, right where she was about to die, God spoke his intent. “Grow.”

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left . . . .”   Isaiah 54:2 NIV

Thrive. Get better. Go beyond. Widening your reach is about allowing your LORD to hold you together. There, you can breathe in a perspective change straight from his Spirit. There. Now reach out your hand to a friend who also needs to grow through her difficulty. God is the Master of introducing lively plans, surprising growth. You’re looking for a new story to unfold, aren’t you? You’re here because you’re sensing the need for change in your life, right? Grow. It becomes you.


 Jacque Coffee, MA, author and speaker, artist and coach, communicates one powerful message through many mediums. “God is Gung-Ho! about us.” It’s God’s heart for us to be strengthened through encouragement, support, truth-telling, and love that covers it all—so that we can catch our calling, spread his life, and fulfill his mission in the earth. This article was adapted from a chapter in her newly released book, “Your Gung-Ho! Life: The ABCs of Proactive Living.” Visit the gung ho girl at www.JacqueCoffee.com.

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Comments

2 Responses to “G is for Grow!”
  1. Lorrie Baird says:

    In the sunshine of our lives we bask…but it is in the rain that we GROW. Regardless of where we are in our faith walks we have seasons of rest and seasons of growth.
    Jacque points out here that in the Lord we can enjoy both…periods of rest and refreshment WHILE we grow. In fact, rest stops along the way – where we carve out deep, personal spiritual time with the Lord – are the very essence of enjoying the journey. Bless you Jacque for reminding us of that!

  2. Jennie Adams says:

    Just a quick comment.

    Loved this article, G is for Grow. I am going through some very serious transitions in my life, asking God which way to go, and get continually blessed.

    Though in the quiet moments, I feel as though I am all alone, will never be happy with life, and think through doubts and disappointment. That’s where this article helps.

    It is time to get out of ourselves and give. It’s as easy as opening the door for someone at the dentist’s office, or helping a mom with several kids with her grocery cart when she is done with it. It’s about the old addage, “What would Jesus do?”. Instead of thinking about that for an extended amount of time, listen to Nike and “Just Do It”.

    As a long time member of another organization, it is one thing to ponder on what to do, and then it is something else to make it happen. I love that idea. Instead of groveling in the dismal possibilities, let’s focus on the hope, on the what might happen, I’m trusting the Lord for ______________ (fill in the blank). Then, I love to sit back and watch Him display his magnificence.

    Thank you for reframing the picture in my mind. Thank you for reminding me that I can have a direct impact on my life and the lives of others for the good.

    Thank you for the encouragement to reach for what I want, and be ready to thank God for what He gives.

    It’s not about me….its about He….the Great I Am.

    I love you already, and give my regards to Lorrie.

    Jennie Adams

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