I spent some time with my 83 year old father over the holidays. He was asking me a bunch of questions about how to better use the iPhone he bought last year. He thought he was bothering me by asking so many questions but I saw it as a blessing to have a dad who still wants to learn and grow in his later years.
The desire to grow is a wonderful aspiration. I get a bit annoyed inside when I hear someone say, “I’m too old to learn that” or “I know everything I need to know at this point in my life.” Really?
The desire to grow is an enormous benefit. We know that growth increases our sense of joy and contentment. It increases our self-confidence and sharpens decision-making. And it produces a depth of wisdom and understanding that impact the quality of our relationships. With all these benefits, who wouldn’t want to grow?
The problem usually isn’t the lack of desire for growth. It’s more often the lack of discipline. So often, people don’t grow until they are forced to by tragedy, loss or pressure. They lose a job, a spouse dies, or they feel the pressure of younger leaders moving past them in their career, so they push themselves to grow and try something new.
When life is going along smoothly, it’s easy to put our personal development on hold. The truth is, growth always requires surrender and sacrifice. If I want to grow as a leader, I must sacrifice having an abundance of leisure time for the sake of having adequate learning time. If I want to grow in my marriage, I have to push myself to listen better, care deeper, and communicate more intentionally. If I want to grow in my relationship with God, I must surrender the will of my flesh to pursue the desires of the Spirit. When I refuse to surrender or sacrifice I won’t have the margin to grow to my greatest potential.
King Solomon implies that growth is never free. He wrote in Proverbs 23:23, “Buy… wisdom, instruction and understanding.” We must always exchange something we value for wisdom, instruction and understanding. Growth will always cost you: time, money, energy, pain or greater humility. And the crazy thing is, when you pay the price, you value it even more.
QUESTION: What is one area of your life you plan to pursue growth in? Share it in the Comment section. Thanks!