This week’s “Permission to Grow” guest post comes from my For the Love launch team sister and Californian, Robin Lee, who shows us that even if we are messy, we are a masterpiece and work in progress, constantly made better by the painter, our Creator.
Permission to grow
Helping my best get better
My friend’s heart was broken. Sometimes life is so, so hard. I told her:
• I can cook.
• I can clean.
• I can listen.
• I can get mad for you.
• I can pray.
I also shared something I learned a long time ago: While I believe we are doing the best we can, sometimes our best simply has to get better.
Please don’t misunderstand; Jesus loves me (and her) enough to have given everything for me in my most broken and battered moments. He died on the cross and rose to life for humanity with only the desire that we would believe and trust Him.
However, since I began trusting Him, He’s encouraged me in the sanctification process. He helps me look at my character and examine it in light of His word. Jesus pushes me to really get grace seared into my soul and breathed into my thoughts through studying the Bible.
While I never, ever doubt God’s love, nor do I believe that I can (or must) do anything to earn it in all its glory, I am bowled over by the reality that walking with Jesus has helped me to grow and change. Beauty has been illuminated in what felt like darkness. In many areas of my life, my best has gotten better.
While I am still feisty, my angry heart has moved toward peace. Though I am still able to stand firm when needed, I am far less likely to be wrecked emotionally (or wreck others) by things that don’t go my way or by wounds I didn’t see coming. He has changed me.
I am still a bit of a mess. But rather than beginning and ending each day in chaos, enduring the wear and tear of clutter, there are more days of order than at any other time in my life. There is space for treasured memories to be made.
My life, the broken and the healed, is a masterpiece of His art.
The fiery reds have been tempered and cooled by the blues and greens of His grace, and both are beautiful.
As I have grown in Him, my eyes have learned to look for beauty. I believe God’s word guides me and fuels my desire to grow and change.
On the chalkboard in my home, I often write one of my favorite Bible verses:
Walk with the wise and become wise, for the companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20
Here are five ways Proverbs 13:20 thinking inspires my growth and change:
1. Growth requires movement.
My growth requires my action. Sometimes the action is praying. Sometimes it is waiting. Of course there is also the serving and learning and relationship-ing. Each bring their own brush strokes of dimension and hues to my masterpiece. Some are bold and some are nuanced, but the walking out of my faith helps me grow.
2. Wise people bring tremendous value.
Andy Stanley defines them this way: Wise people understand that all of life is connected. The decisions we made last year impact the reality we experience this year. Stress and struggle in one area of life will spill on to other spaces, roles and relationships. Likewise, progress here … can lead to progress there … .
3. Wisdom is a becoming thing.
It is a journey available to me, if I am willing to invest purposely in it. The proverb is a promise I hold in my heart: If I walk with the wise, then I will become wise.
4. I can walk with the wise in many different ways.
I read the wisdom of God’s word. I read books by really smart and thoughtful people. I listen to sermons at my church and other churches. I have a mentor. I have my breakfast club ladies who stretch me and make me think. I go to Bible Study. I pray.
5. Hanging around fools doesn’t necessarily make me a fool.
The verse doesn’t say that the companion of fools becomes a fool; it says they suffer harm. When a life explodes, the shrapnel wounds those in the wake. Foolish parents wound children. Foolish spouses explode on loved ones. I tell my teenager: Foolish friends will bring you down.
I also love what Andy Stanley says about fools: Fools know the right thing to do, but don’t care.
When I am struggling and searching for truth I am not foolish, I am learning. When I am willfully disobedient and choosing not to do things I know will help others or myself, I am. The more I walk with the wise, the faster I recognize my own disobedience and the more willing I am to change.
What a gift that is.
Growth is just that–a precious gift from a loving God. A God who loved me enough to give His life for me, a God who loves me enough not to leave me as the person I was. Embracing that helps me to be a gift to the people I love.
God has grown my best; HE is making it better.
Robin Lee is wife to an airplane-part-inventing, manufactured-home-selling man who keeps her in stitches and mom to three beautifully unique kids who keep her on her knees. She loves to teach Bible study, laugh, drink coffee with ridiculous amounts of flavored creamer and nap.
You can learn more about Robin over at robins-corner.com.