Do you ask yourself daily if you have grown emotionally or spiritually in the preceding 24 hours? I didn’t ask myself this question very often in the past. I don’t know if it was because I was subconsciously so egotistical that I thought I didn’t need to grow, or if it was because I had become too complacent over the years, not seeing or being concerned about the deficiencies in my life. Either way, I didn’t check myself to see if I was still growing at all. But I really do want to be a life-long learner.
Growing means more than learning a fact. Memorizing information does not mean I am growing. Neither does watching the news or reading a book. Growing, to me, means I have taken the information and assessed what I am going to do with it.
If I hear new information, what am I going to do with that information? Can apply it to my life? Am I taking new information and becoming more compassionate, more just or more loving? Am I taking new thoughts and seeing the world more through God’s eyes than through my own weak and often unfocused eyesight? Am I taking ideas from a book and letting them teach me to understand life from a perspective other than my own narrow experience?
Have I learned to write better, paint better or teach better? Have I learned a healthier approach to life? Can I cook a new meal to share with family and friends? Only reading the recipe does not help me grow. Learning about new cooking techniques or herbs and then using them does.
Have I prayed a new prayer? Have I gained a new insight? Have I listened more closely to the silent cries of the world? Have I reached out because of a new found courage? Have I moved forward after a stalled period in my life? Have I taken one more step out of my grief or anger? Have I found one more thing to be thankful for? Have I learned how to better express my thanks?
Tough questions can come with a price. We may not like the answers, or we may realize that we haven’t grown in much too long. No matter our age, learning and growing can be a process we claim daily.