By Kelly Carr
But what about the people who caused you to grow? Think back over your life. Who made a difference and spurred you on to new levels in your mental, emotional, or spiritual maturity?
Who challenged you to change careers? to pursue your hidden passion? to recognize you could reach out and make a difference? Who demonstrated how much God loves you? Who was an answer to your prayers?
Surrounded by Support
Stop and think about how different you are today than you were just a year ago. Consider who has helped you to this place.
I relate to this issue’s article “Together on Purpose” by Karen Ward Robertson. She testifies how she and others in her small group have grown individually and collectively because of their time together.
I see that in my own church family. The word family is not just a catch phrase but a true description of the relationships we have. We pray together, eat together, text one another, and make each other laugh. If I have a good day, these friends are some of the first people I want to tell. If I have a struggle, they are who I lean on to hold me up. I have become a better person being with them.
My relatives also cause me to grow. Who knows where I’d be without the encouragement, advice, and companionship I’ve received from parents, aunts, and siblings, both inherited and married into.
Outside of Ourselves
The more I type, the longer my list extends. I have a lot of people to thank who have helped me grow. But I also need to make sure I am responding in kind. Am I offering the same type of encouragement, support, and accountability that they need to keep growing?
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). Hopefully this happens naturally. As we meet together in our congregations or reunite at family gatherings or just hang out with friends over dinner, the love we have for one another builds up and spills over. Yet at other times, we need to push ourselves to get out of our own heads and make sure we are attentive to others’ needs.
Does your friend seem quieter than normal? Find out what’s wrong. Has someone been absent from church for a few weeks? Get in touch. Do you only see your cousins at Christmas? Send an unexpected note to say hi and check in.
We’ve heard the “golden rule” so often than it has become trite. But the truth remains: think of things others do that bring you joy and initiate those same actions.
God created us to be in community—it was one of his first actions for humanity. After designing Adam and allowing him to settle into his environment, God stated, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So he crafted a teammate—Eve.
God didn’t form us to arrive on the scene perfectly settled and secure. He left space inside us to yearn and reach out—to one another and to him. He gave us room in our souls to grow together.