I’m back to pondering spiritual growth, more specifically how we know it’s growth and not just becoming more intelligent about spiritual things. And I’ve discovered an interesting, yet very simple thing about this issue: my heart.
Oh, my heart. I’ve had a contentious relationship with the thing since 1994. (And probably before then, but I remember that year in particular was when it became especially difficult.) I think because knowledge – the stuff in my head – was honored in my family. Making the honor roll and the Dean’s list was a proud moment (one where when I made the dean’s list in college, my dad made a point to tell my high school superintendent. Huh?) But matters of heart weren’t considered practical or worthwhile – they were just a way to distract us from the real goal in life.
As an adult I get to set my own goals in life, and they are quite different from the goals my family set for me. But when I chose to go a different way, they supported me. They didn’t understand me, but they said, “Just as long as you’re happy.” I followed my heart, even when my head kept reminding me of all the stuff I heard as a child, stuff that seemed like the practical thing, the right thing to do. But ultimately, my stubborn spirit just didn’t go for it. I didn’t go to a university, or even a school in state, closer to home. I didn’t pick a major, like education or accounting, that would assure me a job would be waiting when I got out. I kept writing, even when my brother told me “anyone can write” and I didn’t stop.
I probably made my family proud at some point, but ultimately I was able to find a balance between making myself happy, my family excited for me, and still know in my heart I was doing what God called me to do. My family still may not understand it, but there it is. And my heart has learned how to be okay with that.
What does all this have to do with growth? Well, I’m getting there. I’m going somewhere with this… I promise. I just need to let it sit and process for a while before I continue. But it all comes back to one thing: Jesus. And isn’t that all that really matters anyway?