Photo Credit: Brian-M (Creative Commons)
Sometimes a snatch of a song lyric will lodge itself in my brain, and I will hear it over and over again in my mind for several days at a time. This line is the “tag” of a Michael Hyatt podcast I listened to recently, and I cannot get it out of my head:
// this is your life / are you who you want to be? //
My heart screams, “No!” in answer to that sobering question. Am I who I want to be? Absolutely not! I often feel that the more I grow and learn, the more I realize how much I have still to learn and grow. As the saying goes, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.”
I have just begun to learn what it means to be an adult, to be a wife, and to be a member of God’s kingdom, and the older I become, the more I recognize how often I fall short. I suppose this is a sign of maturity, which I should see in a positive light—but it also brings with it a sobering sense of reality.
To a certain extent, I never want to feel that I have “arrived” in life; I don’t want to become complacent with my growth, whether spiritual or emotional or intellectual. I want to continue learning and growing for the rest of my life, so in one sense, this recognition of how much I still want to grow is not a bad thing. I have heard many mature Christians echo the same idea, saying that the more they grow in Christ, the more they recognize their own sinfulness and God’s mercy and grace revealed in their sanctification. Seeing myself not in light of how far I have come, but of how far I have yet to go, is simply a sign of maturity.
I don’t want to recognize my need for growth and then turn away without taking any action, though. I want to let these reflections become the catalyst for action in my life—seeking growth and actively pursuing God’s plan for me. I don’t want to meander aimlessly down the path of the Christian life. I want to run with urgency, recognizing that my pilgrimage on this earth is not an excursion for fun but a battle for my eternal soul. I want to pursue my husband every day of our married life, never taking him for granted and recognizing that marriage demands intentional living in order to remain vibrant and Christ-honoring as God intended. I don’t want to “just write” because it’s something fun that I like to dabble in; I want to constantly search for art, recognizing that God has given me a gift, however small or great it might seem to me, and that refusing to use it for His glory is the equivalent of throwing the gift away.
In many ways, I know that I have lived most of my life in ease and complacency. I always had enough to eat, more clothes than I needed, and a roof over my head. I had parents who loved me and sacrificed more than I will ever know to raise me “in the fear and admonition of the Lord.” I grew up surrounded by family and friends who loved me, taught me, and encouraged me. I’ve had struggles, of course, but I have never really faced what might be called a fiery trial. I have, comparatively speaking, eased from one stage of life to the next, and I have rarely tried to stretch myself more than absolutely necessary, content to live inside my comfort zone.
But will I grow if I stay in that bubble? Will I become who I want to be—who God wants me to be—without jumping out of my comfort zone and embracing the challenges that will stretch me beyond my preconceived notions of my abilities? I know I will never, this side of heaven, be who I truly want to be, but I want to embrace the tasks, challenges, and joyful experiences of life that will transform me and sanctify me to become the woman God intends for me to be.