We talk about growth constantly in this culture that is obsessed with self-improvement. There's the hustle, the boss babe, influencers, life coaches, merchandise, courses, and so much more, all dedicated to the "you got this, sis" movement. The do it today, not tomorrow approach, the life-changing challenges, diets, books, etc.
Yet, at the same time, you see those same people trying to share the message of self-acceptance, right? We often hear about the body positivity movement. We learn our personality types and say, "hey, that's just the way God made me." We see others doing "worse" things and think well, I at least go to church on Sundays and know John 3:16, I can't help if I'm not good at all the rest.
So which should we be striving towards?
Something I don't share about often is that I have an undiagnosed chronic illness accompanied by extreme chronic fatigue, irritable bowels, and pain. It's led to weight gain, a decision to only work from home, and a hard time when out all day. It's cut down on my ability to dance due to the pain, leaving me in huge bouts of depression and unmotivated, but the worst part is the embarrassment and isolation. It's embarrassing when friends and family don't understand why I feel so sick all the time or think I'm faking when they suggest laziness because I have to take a daily nap to make the pain stop.
So, why am I sharing this with you? Looking at the growth culture around me, I sit in this constant cycle of wanting to feel better and accepting my body for the broken pieces. That the word growth patterns would pass through my mind more times in a day than I could even count. Which diet is best? Is my self-diagnosis correct? I can push through, and I got this! Forget it. I'll just lay in bed all day. Wait, I need to push past pain, but I also need to recognize and take note of it. It felt impossible to know what to do; all I knew was that I didn't like myself.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, "Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come."
So what's our answer on whether we should follow the self-improvement or self-acceptance movements? Neither! When we accept life in Christ, we are new creations. Quite literally, 2 Corinthians 5:17 shares that "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
When circulating through self-glory and self-acceptance, we are harming our mental health. Your brain is battling two opposites and basically stalling out. Think about it, when you bounce back and forth, do you ever truly grow? Do you become overwhelmed by the options? Have you found yourself 1 step forward and then 5 steps back? Does the growth ever actually feel fulfilling, or does it constantly leave you needing more validation?
So, why should we chase self-glory or sit in who we were when Christ wiped all of it clear?
I had to shift my perspective of healing and growth away from a self-centered beauty perspective to grow truly. I had to surrender my selfish desires for healing to trust God to work in those areas and lead me in the steps I should take.
How long have you sat in the self-glory vs. self-acceptance cycle? Are you ready to break free?
Here are five questions to ponder and pray through if you are ready to step away from the world's growth perspective.
What place am I currently in?
What are areas of my life that I'd like to grow in?
How am I actively seeking growth?
In what ways can I trust God and surrender my personal goals for His plans for my life?
What is one step He is calling me to make today?
If these questions and prayer with God have you seeking spiritual growth, be sure to subscribe to our emails on the Fearlessunite.com home page to get an update when our next growth blog is posted.
Ready to make a step towards growth now? Join the Fearless team on October 13th from 6-8 pm at Hygge in Lake St.Louis for Nourish. Enjoy a tasty treat to nourish your body and hear a message that will nourish your soul and mind, all included in the ticket price. Click HERE to save your seat.