Wow. It’s been a whole year since I put up this post about turning 40. I turned 41 today. Again, wow! I am constantly surprised at the way time seems to speed up as the years go by. I look in the mirror and see so much gray hair on my head (at least I still have hair) and in my beard. I look at my little kids and see a young lady that will graduate a year from now and a young man that just keeps getting bigger and stronger. Where did those little toothless cuties go?
I said last year that I wanted to finish well. I still do. There are a lot of things that I have been thinking about, dreaming about, and working on. This last year seems to have been fairly pivotal in that regard. I’m not saying that I have made all the necessary changes or that the work here is complete, but there seems to be much more going on, and the directions are becoming a little clearer.
This year has been a year of growth in a lot of aspects, and I am seeing some of the stuff that I have been working toward (and have been frustrated by) start to make forward progress. The work has felt substantial, the time involved has been immense, the prayer regarding has been huge, and the progress had seemed to be right on the cusp of nothing.
Then something started to happen. Things that I have been trying to accomplish in my relationships started to fall into place. Things I have been working on with my family and relating to them have started to improve. The relationships I have with people at work are starting to grow.
The things I have been getting out of God’s Word have been deeper, richer, and have satisfied my heart in ways that they never have before. I’ve been able to partner with people on spiritual matters that are difficult to navigate. I’ve had a stronger desire to pray for people and see God work in their lives.
So, what has changed that would make that possible? Not much. Honestly, I can’t say that I have really changed much of anything I have done over the last year. I had plans to do more, to reach farther, to do bigger things, but I never did them. So, what has happened?
In April Tammi and I had the opportunity to go to a couple’s retreat taught by my friend Joe and his wife Traci. (You can read more about them here and here) They presented a great seminar on how the little things we do that seem insignificant will eventually add up to something huge. They talked about how it happens in our marriages, how investing the time it takes to give her a look, or to ask her about her day, or unrolling your shirtsleeves and putting your socks in the hamper right side out really matter toward growth in your marriage.
The principles apply in the other aspects of our lives too. The little things we do that seem to be insignificant really do add up. The problem is we keep getting caught up in the big things. We feel like if we are putting in major time on something we should see a major return for it, but often the important things just take time. They don’t come together fast.
There is one thing I have been focusing on for the past four years, and those closest to me know what that is. I’m not going to go into those details here, but over the last four years I have been frustrated more often than not in regards to this “project”. It has been heavy on my heart and mind, and there has been no progress. Until about a month ago.
About a month ago things started to percolate a bit, and I was noticing it, but not really seeing it. (Not sure if that makes sense, but it works in my head, so roll with me here.) The other day I was talking about this with my wife and I was a little excited and she looked at me and said, “Don’t you see it is finally happening? You are finally seeing the result of all of the work you put into it. You are just getting something different than you were originally thinking it would be.” She’s a smart lady.
As I thought about it, I realized just how right she was. God has been blessing the work that I was doing even when I thought that nothing was happening. Something is becoming visible as a result of the work that was not visible. And I didn’t even see it. Maybe that is a good thing.
I say a good thing because I tend to worry, doubt, and need to be in control. Now that I see something is happening I am very concerned that Satan will attack it. It’s a real fear, but I need to step back and not let it take control. You see, God did something while I wasn’t looking, and I believe that if I just keep doing the things He has asked me to do in this, He will continue to bless it and make it grow. I need to keep going and not get distracted by things – even success.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 3:13-14
This thing that has happened is not mine. It belongs to God. If God wants to make it a success, then it will be. I am not a factor in that success, but I believe God has allowed me to be a part of His work, and I am thankful for the opportunity to give Him the glory for it.
Relentless Growth is just “keeping on keeping on”. Paul called it pressing on toward the goal. Sometimes it seems like the horizon on our journey never gets any closer, but one small step at a time we get there. We just gotta keep pressing on.
What are you pressing toward? What do you want to see happen for God? Stay in His Word. Stay close to His people. Be Relentless!