When I was a teenager, I loved rearranging the furniture in my room.
I rarely asked for help and would muster all of the strength in my tiny, adolescent body to push my loaded bookcase across that hardwood floor. Occasionally, I would end up hurting myself and wishing that I had asked my parents or my younger-but-bigger-and-stronger-brother for assistance, but I continued to take great pride in my creative independence.
Not only did I not like asking for help, I also didn’t like getting rid of anything.
I just kept moving the same stuff around my bedroom over and over again.
Why permission to grow is permission to be present in the here and now
As a young adult, I thought that growth was ultimately about being, doing and having more–more power, more freedom, more influence, more money, more success.
While this might be true in the business world, I now believe that growth is actually about being, doing and having less–less worry, less fear, less pride, less jealousy, less ego.
Permission to grow is permission to set boundaries, forgive, rest and delegate–permission to stop trying to be everything to everyone and just be you.
I think that true growth requires a perpetual spring cleaning of the soul.
After years of simply moving around the same clutter, I’m months into a mission to downsize my stuff in an effort to simplify my life. I’ve found that less clutter vying for space in my house or on my calendar equals less clutter vying for space in my heart or on my mind.
Authors Marie Kondo and Kathi Lipp have similar guidelines for helping us getting rid of our excess stuff. Marie asks readers, “Does it bring you joy?,” while Kathi implores–more practically, perhaps–“Would you buy it again today?”
Both of these wise women are directing us to be present and decide what is serving us and bringing us joy right now. Not yesterday. Not three years ago. Now.
I’ve learned that maturity means figuring out what we should keep and what we should throw away–physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Hanging onto the wrong things, even if they are seemingly good things, keeps me from growing. If something is no longer serving me–whether it’s an unhealthy habit, past hurt, stressful time commitment, or bulky family heirloom–I need to thank it for its service, as Marie would say, and let it go.
It’s okay to grieve the change or loss but we must keep moving forward, in order to survive.
The non-negotiables become more and more obvious as I continue to focus in on my core values and fine tune my priorities accordingly. I’m learning to stay true to myself and my Creator, in choosing what I hang onto and what I toss each day.
I’m learning to do less striving and more living into my right now calling in my right now time, place and relationships.
Learning to live my truth
If you follow me on social media, you may already know how much I love gardening.
Yes, planting seeds and buying new plants is a lot of fun, but my favorite part of gardening is actually the weeding and pruning. I love making room for new growth.
As a kid, my mom always told me that it was easiest to pull weeds after a good rain, when the ground was soft. I’ve found that this is true–not just in gardening–but also in life.
After we survive a storm, it becomes easier to weed out distractions because we’ve discovered the beautiful and important truth of who we are and what we’re called to do.
We finally learn to stop moving our stuff around the room and actually get rid of the things that no longer fit.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
Because permission to grow is permission to be present in the here and now.
Permission to Grow guest posts
Seven brave souls from our For the Love of Writing group shared their personal stories of growth and survival in this summer’s “Permission to Grow” guest post series. I hope you’ll read their beautiful and important words below.