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Growth Arcs

Growth arc
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I’m getting soft in my old age.

I tend to have a pretty intense personality. I’m not good at small talk, but if you want to talk shop, my wheels are turning pretty much all the time.

I love what I do. I remember having a conversation with my dad towards the end of my time working with him where he simply pointed out my heart wasn’t in farming. It wasn’t a criticizing conversation as much as a “this is what I see” moment. He shared that when he was my age, his focus was on farming and what he could do to help the farm succeed.

At the time, I was farming as a way to finance my being a bi-vocational minister. I don’t think I did a bad job farming, but my time on the tractor would often drift to dreaming about ministry, not the farming operation.

My heart is in ministry. My heart is in helping students (and adults) grow in their relationship with God. That’s what gets me up in the morning. That’s what excites me.

But I’m getting soft in my old age. I’m gaining more compassion. I’m displaying more sympathy for those who are different from me. I’m seeking to understand how someone thinks before I respond to them, instead of assuming I know.

And you know, I think I’m okay with that.

A balance still exists where I’m not making excuses for people. I still have expectations for students to reach. But maybe, just maybe, having a little more compassion and understanding toward those I serve just makes me better.

So, what about you? Do you need to soften a little? Or do you need to intensify a little? Take some time today to do a little self-reflection. Ask God to show you how you can grow. You might be surprised at the result.

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