Chrissy Mayer, GFC Temple Terrace
I love when the fair comes to town! One of my favorite memories as a kid was winning a game and taking home my very own goldfish. I got to pick out my tiny new pet from a slew of lucky, endlessly circling fishies in their individually knotted slumped over plastic baggies. It boggled my mind they so easily gave away and entrusted live, free creatures to children.
I remember taking it home and finding a small bowl shaped vase that had been stashed away under the kitchen sink. My eight year old self and I had big dreams for me and my fish and our new life together. Today, this boy mom, has been forced to learn all the things from fish to sharks to amphibians and reptiles. In my attempt to be a “cool mom” we have even owned a couple of leopard geckos. But my boys know the conversation stops at snakes. I don’t do anything that slithers.
One day we were at the zoo and stopped to listen to a man teach about the different species of fish in the pond.“What is that huge orange fish?” I asked, “Is that a Koi?”. I felt so smart already knowing the answer would be a yes. “Its a goldfish ma’am.” he said. “Sir I have had a goldfish before that is not a regular goldfish. It must be a special kind?” “Nope.” he continued, “This goldfish has just been exposed to consistent nutrients and been given a healthy amount of room to grow.”
“Woah!” I said out loud as my heart and mind began to race. “That’s whole a word!”
Later that evening I did some more research. I love it when we can see God’s truths revealed in nature. I totally geek out! It turns out that the growth of most fish, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles is actually dependent upon 3 major factors:
-the nutrients available
-the growth-capacity of the environment
-the ability of the creature to successfully shed
This pattern allows for what is called indeterminate growth.
Do you know that, we too, will only experience growth in proportion to the capacity of our current “environments”?
I believe there are three truths we can learn from this phenomenon:
1. Check Your Source – “Garbage in Garbage Out!” What you “feed on” will ultimately affect your growth and ability to thrive. What you consume on a regular basis will determine and direct your feelings, thoughts, and actions. That is why we must consistently acknowledge what or whom we run to in order to “be filled”.
Proverbs 4: 20-23
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
2. Check Your Circle – “Your people will either help you grow or be a hindrance to your growth.” We need friends looking out for us, helping us to see our blindspots. Those in our inner circle should be encouraging us to walk in our calling – not distracting us from our purpose. They should be the first to celebrate the good times and offer a safe space to be vulnerable – always pointing us back to truth and challenging us to repent when needed.
“Discover creative ways to encourage others and motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”
3. And Shake it Off! – “Put Off the Old and Put On the New!” When we are made new in Christ we are given a new identity and purpose. However, we must choose daily to step into our identity and purpose – “shaking off every weight that slows us down and the sin that so easily entangles us”.
In nature, the shedding or “molting” process is a fascinating and vulnerable process that prepares a creature for its next stage of growth. Our ability to grow and thrive will be in proportion to our ability to step into where God is calling us, while stepping out of “old beliefs” and “old behaviors”. In other words, what may have brought you “here” will not get you “there”!
“Change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.”
Sis, I don’t know what season you may be in or what season He may be calling you into next, but I do know that in order for us to continually grow and thrive in our faith we must purposefully and persistently examine these areas. In His grace and mercy God is always pursuing us into “Much More”, so let’s decide to regularly check our source, check our circle, and shake.it.off. so that we can fully step into all He has for us!
Which area is tripping you up or keeping you stuck?
What are you going to do about it?