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