Somehow, the look on sweet Lilly's face, the way she's pulling on her pants, the little pink angel wings - somehow it all reminded me of my usual way of approaching life as I wrote about this topic. Read it and see if this picture choice makes any sense at all to you!
For much of my life, I associated the verb 'grow' with the verb 'do.' If I wanted to grow in any way - mentally, athletically (now that is a funny adverb for me to choose - I am the LEAST athletic person you will ever meet anywhere!), musically, emotionally, academically, spiritually - then I needed to get busy. You know what I mean...
Want to know something more about a topic?
Do the research.
Want to hit a baseball better?
Do the batting cage.
Want to sing a solo?
Do the practicing.
Want to understand why you act the way you do?
Do the therapeutic work.
Want to excel in school?
Do the homework.
Want to get closer to God?
Do the quiet time.
For the first five arenas, all that doing seemed to work out pretty well. (Though no amount of time at the batting cage will ever make a baseball player out of me!)
But that last one? Hmmm... maybe.
And that's a great big, gigantic BUT here...
I am slowly learning that to grow deeper in my connection to God, to gain understanding of how God works in the human heart, most particularly in my human heart - I need to stop doing.
Yes. There. I said it. I.need.to.stop.doing.
Organized, scheduled study time - great for learning about scripture and about myself. Even for learning about God.
But to grow in knowing God - not about God - well.
I just need to stop.
Stop trying so dang hard to impress God.
Stop trying to please God.
Stop trying to learn all I can about God through reading and writing and talking.
I just need to STOP.
I need to use many fewer words.
I need to listen.
I need to 'go inside.'
And to do that - I have to work against everything I've ever learned about succeeding and growing in this world. Because knowing God simply cannot be done when I'm all wrapped up in doing. Especially when that doing is being done for some crazy mixed up reasons.
It's when I slow down, on purpose, and carve out a few minutes here, a few minutes there and hit the pause button - that's when I grow.
But it doesn't usually show up at the time I'm pausing.
In fact, sometimes it feels like absolutely NOTHING is happening.
Ah, but then.
But then I begin to notice small differences:
a more centered calmness in my usually rapidly spinning mind,
a more gentle approach to myself and those I live with and love,
a deeper patience with the frustrations of schedules
and car trips
and the personal idiosyncracies of others.
Yeah, that's when I grow. When I stop all the doing.
Well. That took a bit longer than 5 minutes. I forgot to look up at my computer clock and just kept typing! More like 8 or 9, I think! Maybe this is really important right now. Yeah, that must be it. :>)
Italics/bold/formatting added later.