Sunday, October 29, 2017

Super Sunday: Let's Focus on Growing

The other day, while showering, I realized that someone had flushed the toilet because the water pressure changed a bit. I was grateful that the temperature didn't change.

Just like that, I was back in Fern Smith Hall at Northwestern College.

I remembered how our RA stressed the importance of yelling "Flush!" before we flushed the toilet so the girl in the shower could jump out of the stream of water before it scalded off a patch of skin.

Well, I was a very timid, insecure young woman as a freshman. I didn't talk very much until I got to know someone. My friends teased me because I didn't even laugh out loud. I just shook with silent laughter.

So I distinctly remember being too shy to yell "Flush!" Instead, I flushed and rushed out of the bathroom as quickly as possible and scurried back to my room, hoping the girl showering wouldn't figure out who had subjected her to third degree burns.

Isn't that pitiful?
Does this look like the face of someone who would cruelly torture another human being?
I was transported back in time again when this blast from the past showed up in my Facebook feed one day. It's me, ten years ago.

I joked about not remembering this woman, because I hardly do. My hair was short and permed, now it's longer and straight. I'm smiling here, but I was still pretty reserved and insecure much of the time.

Those two events got me thinking about growing this week.

I've grown physically over the years:
Here I am in March, 1966 (fifty-one years ago)
Me in 6th grade in 1977
I've grown taller (and a little bit wider) as I've gotten older.

Even more important are the changes I've gone through inside.

I'm no longer that timid freshman in Orange City who was more worried about hearing the sound of her own voice than the welfare of her wingmates.

I'm no longer that insecure twenty-four-year-old who didn't say a word during Bible Study in Rock Rapids because she was afraid and then berated herself the rest of the day wondering if the rest of the group thought she was stupid.

I'm no longer that thirty-four-year-old in Orange City who stayed very busy but struggled with depression.

I'm no longer that forty-year-old in Chandler who smiled a lot, but was afraid to voice her opinions most of the time.

I'm not even that fifty-year-old in Allison who finally dealt with her depression and learned to feel more comfortable making her needs and wants known.

I thank God because I keep growing.

As frustrated as I get with areas where I fall short, this week I've also been reminded of how much I've grown over the years.

I like who I was at every age, but I'm glad I didn't get stuck back there. I'm glad God has been helping me grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. 

I'm a different person now than I was before.
Gary and I after we hiked the Grand Canyon in December, 2016.
I'm fifty-one years old...and growing.

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:14-15 NIV)

Can you look back and see how you've grown over the years? How can focusing on God help you to be thankful for who you've been and look forward to future growth?

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