“Growth looks like...nothing.” These words had me murmuring yeses and amens when my philosophical and honest friend Breanne spoke them on an insta-story recently. It’s so true, right? Most of the time growth doesn’t announce itself, it doesn’t look like anything in particular on any given day. Like that old cliche about faith and the wind….you can’t see it but you can feel it. Well with growth...you usually don’t see it or feel it until you are forced into a situation that requires your growth to come into play, and then it kiiiinnnnddd of looks like something.
For me, growth kinda looks like an abandoned dirty kitchen at 7:40 a.m. on a weekday.
Oddly specific, I know. But when you are a control freak, Type 1 who firmly believes in making your bed as soon as you wake up and leaving the house clean anytime you depart from it….or really just living inside an immaculately clean house all the time whether that is realistic or not because cleanliness is your happy place...a dirty kitchen is a big freaking deal.* (listen if you aren’t into the Enneagram, that makes me physically uncomfortable and you need to just jump on the bandwagon. I can tell you all the podcasts that I’ve loved on the subject if you want.)
For me growth looks like 1. Accepting the limits of reality instead of living in the perfectionist mindset that believes that all things are capable of perfection all the time. Growth also looks like 2. Prioritizing the most fundamental values of my day and overall life and not letting every single little thing be an equal priority with those values. Another nugget of growth is more specific to my stage of life: because I don’t get complete control over the atmosphere I’m in since it’s usually shared with my kids who are loud and messy...and that is sometimes really un-nerving. I read “Glimpses of Grace” a few years ago and I could probably read it every year. It’s amazing. The biggest gut punch for me was that I don’t need physical quietness or cleanliness to have peace because I have the Holy Spirit. I have been given limitless access to a soul peace that supersedes the most picturesque environment. I am capable of conducting life with positivity and joy even if my environment is a wreck.
I know y’all. I know. You have got to be rolling your eyes right now. It’s ridiculous. And side note--I don’t care about your cleanliness at all, it’s my Type 1-ness that MAKES me feel so connected to my own sense of perfection and my own inner critic...I don’t even care ‘bout y’all’s house.
So a couple of week ago, when the kids and I were rushing out the door and the kitchen was overflowing with dirty dishes and mess...I stopped and I smiled. In the past I would have been frustrated and grumpy and probably made myself late because I couldn’t bear to leave the mess. But I felt proud, we were all fed, dressed, and ready to go and the kitchen had zero affect on my mood. Normally, I wouldn’t stop to capture such an “everyday” little victory, but it felt important. We don’t celebrate little victories enough. We don’t stop and say “This is what growth looks like today.” We don’t let ourselves feel proud at the outer work God did through our inner work with Him.
It matters and it’s wonderful. It’s just a little more freedom, a little more grace. Which really, is a lot. It’s a big deal to access a little more freedom and a little more grace because it’s meant to be steeped in, lived out, active, and used up.
So whatever your little victory is, notice it. Thank God for it and when it doesn’t feel like enough, remember that growth looks like nothing.
*Yes, that was an outrageous run on sentence and I can do that because it’s my creative license to do so and I’m proving that I’m growing because I can do messy things.