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Journal | Growing Up in Faith

  • February 2021 Issue
Journal

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Think about your childhood self for a second. What did you look like? What was your personality? Were you talkative or quiet? Did you like sports or music? Did you help your parents with chores or avoid them as much as possible?

Now think about yourself as a teenager. Were you extroverted or introverted? Did you read a lot of books or spend more time watching tv? Did you give in to peer pressure or did you pave your own path? 

Finally, think about who you are today. Of all of those things you described, which are still true? What areas have you experienced growth in? 

In high school, I was the prime example of an extrovert. A social butterfly, I loved talking to people and going to every school and church events. As an adult, I’ve changed. Don’t get me wrong, I am still an extrovert, but I prefer to be with a few people at a time.

You may wonder, how do we experience growth and change? Does growth slow down as we age? And, how does personal growth relate to my faith journey? I believe that personal growth can be achieved at and between all stages of life. Here’s how…

Learning About Ourselves

Self-reflection is key to your emotional and spiritual growth. Intentional self-reflection helps us better understand ourselves. Ask yourself, What do I enjoy? What do I dislike? How do I respond to others in conflict? What are some goals I want to achieve and for what purpose? These questions will help you reflect on who you are. Unfortunately, we are also capable of believing lies about ourselves. So it is important to try to understand who we are truthfully. This leads us to the next important factor. 

Learning About God 

Think of the people around you and their unique personalities and talents. We can all reflect God in some way as His image-bearers. Learning about who God is can help us learn the truth about ourselves. For example, in 1 John 4 we learn that God is love. So how does God’s love affect us? Verse 12 says God abides in us or lives in us. We are called to love others just as God has loved us. This tells us not only that are we lovable but also that He makes us able to love others. Understanding God’s love and other truths about God gives us the truth about who we are and how we can grow to reflect him. 

Practical Next Steps

Here are a few steps you can take toward personal growth:

  • Find a Mentor - Ask someone you respect to mentor you. It may be someone at your church or someone more mature in the faith. Ask that person if you can spend regular time talking to and praying with them. Invite them to speak truth into your life.
  • Keep a Journal – Use a journal to practice self-reflection and to set personal growth goals. Write down your questions and also your accomplishments. Record Bible study notes and consider how you can apply God’s truth to your life. When you read back later, you’ll be surprised by how you’ve grown.
  • Stretch Your Mind - Read books or listen to podcasts on personal and spiritual growth. For example, Becoming Well, a Moody Radio podcast explores our mental and emotional health from a Christian perspective.
  • Follow God’s Leading- Take advantage of opportunities and experiences that God brings your way to stretch and grow. Most of all, spend daily time in God’s Word, praying and quietly listening for His voice. Using a daily Bible study devotional like Today in the Word can help make learning from God a valued part of your routine.

Personal growth no matter what stage of life you are in begins with a humbled heart. It may take time and work, but it is so worth it. As you grow, you will not only help yourself but also the people around you. So, make some time to reflect on yourself and on who God is. 

BY Tina Kramm

Tina Kramm is a third-year student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Moody Theological Seminary. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia International University where she double majored in Psychology and Bible. She is half Hungarian and half Malagasy but grew up in Hungary. Tina has experience in diverse and multicultural settings equipping her to recognize the implications and manifestations of cultural diversity in the mental health field. She hopes to provide mental health services to refugee individuals and families. 

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