Personal Growth Isn’t for Personal Gain

Personal Growth is defined as the ongoing process of understanding and developing oneself in order to achieve one’s fullest potential. At this point in my life, I love to learn new things and expand my capacity. I have this drive to always want to learn and grow.  I was not always this way.  Sixteen years ago I was an addicted, confused, and broken young woman who only knew hopelessness, so I had no drive to learn or grow. I was hopeless about me, and I was stuck.  I didn’t believe in myself, and I really didn’t think I would accomplish much with my life. I didn’t know that I had gifts and talents in me. I didn’t know that I could forever be a student, learning and growing; and I certainly didn’t know that I could also be one who teaches, leads, and helps.  Jesus found me and healed me; and where I am today is just a testimony of His grace and miraculous power.  In addition to wanting to learn all about Him, over the last few years I’ve felt led to press into learning more about physical health, natural ways to heal the body, emotional health, life skills, communication, learning styles, and so many other things.  The process has been painful, glorious, stretching, sometimes disappointing, but always victorious. 

My favorite thing to do is sit across from someone else while they tell me their hopes, dreams, and passions.  Navigating through the process of removing what might be standing in the way of achieving those and pressing in to their own personal growth brings me so much joy. I love to inject courage to go after those things with boldness.  

But here’s the thing:  Our personal growth is not for our personal gain. 

I know what you might be thinking…that sounds a little off.  It’s a bold, blanket statement that maybe isn’t entirely true.  And you would be partially right.  Of course when we personally grow, there will be a byproduct of blessing that will overflow to our personal lives.  However, what I mean is that our lives are not our own.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Chris Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.

The gifts, talents, ideas, and strengths that we walk in are the workmanship of Christ, and we are to use them to do good works for the Kingdom. 

Now you might be thinking this…”I don’t have any gifts or talents.  I don’t get good ideas.  My weaknesses outweigh my strengths.”   I hear you.  I was there once upon a time. This mentality actually closes us off to ever wanting to learn new things and grow.   If that’s what you believe about yourself you need to know that that just isn’t true.  We were all created for a purpose and we all have something to offer up to the Lord in service.  What you have may be buried, underdeveloped, unrefined, or a bit raw, but this is exactly why we need personal growth.  SOMETHING IS IN THERE!  We just need to cooperate with the Lord on how to uncover, develop, refine, and ripen what is already there. 

The “world” has tons to offer in the area of personal growth;  there are podcasts, blogs, and vlogs that show you everything from how to develop Zen habits (yikes!) to a guide on world domination. 

But personal growth in the Kingdom of Heaven looks a bit different:

  • It looks like discipleship.  It’s positioning yourself under someone, giving them permission to speak into your life and help you understand the word of God and how to apply it.
  • It looks like reading everything you can about the area that the Holy Spirit is highlighting to you.  Leaders are readers.  Leaders are learners.
  • It looks like receiving emotional healing from the wounds and lies that keep you bound, depressed, offended, or anxious.
  • It looks like stretching yourself to do things that take great courage.  Growth doesn’t happen inside of our comfort zone!

Growth is painful, but it has purpose.  And that purpose is greater than we think.  There’s a plan God has for this region to bring change and transformation, and it starts with us.  It starts within us.  I pray that we would all cooperate with the Lord in breaking agreement with any closed mindsets that refuse to grow and learn; and embrace the grace to grow and develop our character and gifts to do good works.

Shelly Hanson
Next Generation Pastor
NCWC

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