Grow: when growth comes out of struggle

We grow impatient and discouraged, view our lives with jaundiced eyes and long to see some signs of success, pointers to progress.

It’s a worldly thing. And it’s a spiritual yearning, too, a soul-longing.

God wants us to grow: in faith, in trust, in love, goodness and grace, in likeness to Christ.

We ache for change on the inside, little realising the path to progress will inevitably be painful. Click To Tweet

Like a chrysalis struggling to break free from the confines of its sac, we move restlessly in pursuit of freedom.

Yet its perseverance is not in vain. It grows strong in the struggle itself, and so do we.

Before we can soar free as a butterfly, we need to work through the things that hold us back and hamper us.

Without the stretching of our faith, there will be no resilience and strength developing within.

Those wounds we bear and the scars we wear are battle-banners to the world that we’ve fought the good fight of faith.

We only grow strong as believers by exercising our faith muscles and our trust tendons. Click To Tweet

God watches and waits. Maybe He even longs to intervene. But He knows that what we need most is to learn how to become free by His grace.

Growth takes time. It’s no overnight process. Maturity comes in stages.

We will bear the scorch-marks of our fiery trials, accompanied by the sweet aroma of God’s presence, His love burning strong within.

I want to grow: less impatient, more loving, kinder (to myself as well as others), in faith, understanding and wisdom.

My heart yearns for growth and change. It comes with a price. Freedom always does.

God is revealing to me that it requires willing surrender, a daily laying down and dying to self to grow in grace and Christ-likeness.

When we live with a greater awareness of God’s grace, a deeper dependence on Him, a hunger and thirst after righteousness, then we are on the way to seeing change and breaking free from all that binds us.

My friend, God is cheering you on with every faltering step you take, holding your hand through the hard.

While you and I are still in the process of change, God rejoices over us.

We can grow and spread our wings on the way to all we are becoming. Click To Tweet

butterfly pin WoJ

Learning and growing is made easier in community. I’m thankful to be linking my words with Kate MotaungΒ and the five-minute-friday writing crew on the prompt ‘grow’.Β One day I might grow more aware of the time and write a bit less! Also with Barbie and Carrie as we consider how to grow and walk worthy of our calling in Christ.

36 Comments

  1. This was amazingly relevant for today! One of my Facebook groups is going through a 33 Day Consecration to Merciful Love and we were talking about how we are all wounded in some way. Of course our goal is to grow in trust of Jesus during this period of contemplation and then retaining that trust. The Holy Spirit certainly works in varied ways! Thank you for this wonderful contemplation. Birgit J #37

    1. Hi Birgit. Thank you for visiting! I’m so pleased to hear how this post has spoken to you. The ’33 Day Consecration to Merciful Love’ sounds intriguing. I agree that we are all wounded in one way or another. Being broken is a large part of being human. But God’s grace is greater than any adversity, and He alone can birth beauty out of our brokenness. May you continue to “grow in trust of Jesus” as you contemplate His abundant love for you. Have a blessed weekend. PS: You share a first name with my daughter-in-law. Are you from Germany too, by any chance? Just wondering.. πŸ™‚

        1. I had wondered if you were from Germany. My daughter-in-law will be pleased to hear I have a reader called Birgit! Thanks for returning to answer my query. God bless you, friend.

  2. “We only grow strong as believers by exercising our faith muscles and our trust tendons.” Your thoughts really touched me today! I struggle with muscle, joint, & tendon weakness because of RA and Fibromyalgia. So to look at “trust tendons” and “faith muscles” gave me real hope today, as a parallel of my physical needs! I recently purchased your book, and am being blessed by your poetry also! Thank you for sharing your heart. –Blessings to you!

    1. Hi Bettie. Thanks for stopping by! It’s good to meet you. I can relate to the muscle, joint and tendon weakness you have, because I also experience it with M.E, Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. Constant physical pain is a tough thing to bear at times. Having our faith muscles and trust tendons stretched can feel just as painful, can’t it? But it’s a healing type of discomfort that grows us as Christ-followers. It’s lovely to hear you are enjoying my poetry book. Thank you so much for letting me know! I’d be honoured if you’d stop by again and became a regular part of the Words of Joy community. Bless you, friend. πŸ™‚ x

  3. Yes, God does indeed rejoice over us. So much THIS: “When we live with a greater awareness of God’s grace, a deeper dependence on Him, a hunger and thirst after righteousness, then we are on the way to seeing change and breaking free from all that binds us!”

    1. Tara, I’m so thankful for God granting us ways of growing in faith, love and closeness to Him. They can initially look like they’re confining us, but instead they open us up to a whole new way of living and being, and bring us into a place of greater freedom. I’m glad you were blessed, my friend.

  4. “Trust tendons” really captured me because I am nursing tendonitis. I know how slow the healing process is and learning to trust seems even slower. I appreciate your words this morning.

    1. Ouch for the tendonitis! I’m sorry to hear you are suffering in this way, Gabriele. Yes, healing is a process and it can take far longer than we realise. Each and every one of us are on a journey toward greater wholeness and healing, although it’s not always visible to our own eyes. May God hold you closely and give you strength and peace as you wait for further healing to come. Praying for you, friend. Rest well.

  5. Joy,
    This is so true: “Before we can soar free as a butterfly, we need to work through the things that hold us back and hamper us.” I always need this reminder of how real growth is slow and it can be painful. Blessings to you πŸ™‚

    1. Dolly, it has been so in my experience. Our desires are to be in a stronger place, to be whole and healed as quickly as possible. But I’ve discovered that I need to work through painful things before coming out the other side, no matter how long it takes. We can remain hopeful because God is with us every step of the way. Real, lasting growth usually takes time, application, grace and faith. It cannot be rushed and it can be painful, but the tears are healing ones and there is joy and peace waiting to be found on the journey itself. May you find all the soul solace you seek as you look to Jesus to be your Guide and safe place when life seems overwhelming. Praying for you to see that you already are an overcomer by His grace. Freedom beckons, my friend. πŸ™‚ x

    1. Kristina, your words brought tears to my eyes, too. I’m aware that I am only a pen in the hand of God, and He gifts and inspires with the words He wants me to write. It’s a wonderful thing when they find a home in the heart of another. It’s a huge encouragement to hear how they have resonated in yours. Bless you, friend.

  6. I so identify with these longings, Joy. This is so true – “Before we can soar free as a butterfly, we need to work through the things that hold us back and hamper us.” That working through things can be so painful, but it’s so necessary, isn’t it? As I read this, I think of the butterfly as it leaves its cocoon. The process cannot be hurried, or his wings will be shriveled instead of lubricated to fly. We want to hurry up the healing process, but I think sometimes if we push it too hard, we can be set back. We need soul rest breaks so much, don’t we? I love the photos, too. Have a blessed, restful-in-every-way weekend! Hugs!

    1. The “working through things can be so painful, but it’s so necessary, isn’t it?” Yes indeed! I had the butterfly’s need to stretch slowly over time in order to be lubricated and ready for flight in mind as I wrote this. It’s a beautiful illustration of how we grow strong and are prepared for discovering freedom, isn’t it? Trying to hurry up the healing process only serves to set us back. We definitely do “need soul rest breaks so much”, and I hope and pray you will enjoy one soon, Trudy. Every blessing on your weekend, my friend! Xx

  7. Oh how much I still have to grow in this faith journey. I so struggle. Thank you for your encouraging words, Joy. I needed to hear them today. This truth especially is so reassuring: “While you and I are still in the process of change, God rejoices over us.”

    1. Anna, you are not alone with the need to grow. We all do. Becoming more Christ-like will take a lifetime – and then some. But we can have hope in the process of being changed, because God looks on us with deep love, compassion, joy and grace. You are so special to Him. Never forget that you are a chosen, dearly beloved daughter of God. We give ourselves such a hard time when we mess up, but if we saw ourselves as God sees us, maybe we would exercise a bit more grace toward who we are now and who we are in the process of becoming. Have a blessed, restful weekend, my friend.

  8. Joining you today in that prayer for patience and wisdom. Smiling as I write because the very things that God brings into my life to work these qualities out in me are the things that I allow to bring discouragement. Thanks for your words of grace and truth.

    1. Hi Michele. It’s a pleasure to see you here. I had to smile at these words: “the very things God brings into my life to work these qualities out in me are the things that I allow to bring discouragement.” Oh how true! How hard it can be to see the refining and pruning process as anything but painful and wearying. Thankfully, God allows us to understand these things later, with the gift of Holy Spirit-given hindsight and insight. Thank YOU for your “words of grace and truth.” Blessed by your visit. πŸ™‚ x

    1. Indeed it is. But oh how we chafe against the discomfort at times! Thank you for stopping by, Lux. Blessed to see you here. πŸ™‚

  9. So true that the time of healing is also a time of surrender. In the transformation, like the butterfly before it’s freedom, we don’t know what all those changes will be! But need to trust the process.

    1. Amen to this: “we don’t know what all those changes will be..but need to trust the process.” Absolutely, Lynn! I really appreciate you sharing your insights here. Keep on trusting, friend! Blessings and hugs.

  10. “With jaundiced eyes…” I love that. So true! Thank you for connecting with me via Five Minute Friday. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    1. Hello Heidi. It’s a pleasure to see you here! Thanks for visiting. You’re very welcome to dive into the archives and to stop by any time. Have a blessed weekend. πŸ™‚

  11. Joy, I love this and know that our growing is through struggles…but sometimes I want it easier than it is! Yet, once I break through that cocoon and dry my wings, I can fly! There is such a freedom and knowing where I have been and just Who took me all the way through. Thanks for encouraging my heart this day.

    1. Linda, I share your desire of wanting our pathway to growth to be “easier than it is” sometimes! The key thing is seeing how, through the struggles themselves, we develop the necessary strength to fly. And, yes, there is freedom in seeing where we have been, how far we have come, and “Who took (us) all the way through.” You bless and encourage me whenever you stop by. Thank you, friend.

  12. I love this, Joy, “We can grow and spread our wings on the way to all we are becoming.” None of us have arrived, and that’s okay. Learning to live in the JOY of our salvation now is the key to peace. Blessings, my friend.

    1. June, your words are so reassuring: “None of us have arrived, and that’s okay. Learning to live in the JOY of our salvation now is the key to peace.” Amen! Thank you for adding your own wise insights here, sweet friend. I appreciate you! Blessings for the week ahead. Xx

    1. Barbie, I’m always encouraged when you stop by. Thank you, friend! Honoured to share my words with you.

  13. Your words align perfectly with a book I am currently reading by John Ortberg, called, “If You Want To Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat”. The surrendering of ourselves to God is what ultimately brings about growth. Thank you for the truth in your words today.

    1. Mary, the book you are currently reading is a classic. It really spoke to me when I devoured its words. You’ve stirred me into wanting to read it all over again. Yes and Amen to this: “the surrendering of ourselves to God is what ultimately brings about growth.” And that can sometimes mean saying a hard yes to the things we struggle with. May you spread your wings and fly, or maybe learn to walk on water, my friend. Blessings. x

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