Sunday, January 01, 2017
The entry of this New Year was one for the books! Celebrating with my sweet little family by having a movie marathon, mixed in with board games, then topped off with a magical wintery sledding adventure at midnight was perfection! Sigh. It was amazing. This morning, Pastor Jim posed a question that resonated deep within me. He asked, "Is your soul increasing or decreasing?" As I look to this new year, this blank canvas, this fresh blanket of snow, I can't help but wonder? Will my soul increase this year, or will it decrease?
Ultimately, I think we would all say we would hope for our souls to increase. Yet, to grow, we must not only experience the beautiful, and magical moments. Oh how I wish I had a pause button for moments like last night where I wished the world would just lull in the beauty of the moment. However, often times our greatest increase comes from a challenge. Now I think the word challenge often gets a bad rap! In my studies this year, we learned about Vygotsky and his Zone of Proximal Development. In order to grow in our learning, we must be challenged but in a way where it is scaffolded, and acheivable. If learning is too easy, it doesn't motivate higher level thinking, but the opposite is also true. If the learning proves too difficult, we tune out! So, there is this 'sweet spot' where the learning is just hard enough to illicit those higher level problem solving skills, but we must also have the right supports in place in order to aid us in discovering the new unchartered areas of learning.
I think this same principle can be applied here. In order for our soul to expand, and for us as humans to grow spiritually, we must endure life's challenges. Challenge yourself to find ways to support your spirit's growth. Perhaps, start with redeeming a certain time that you already have. For instance, on the way to work I recite the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then when I pass a certain stop-light I start praying that I would be filled with God's peace and joy for myself and for the classroom. That I would be at peace and be calm and full of joy to a world that is vibrating with stress and depression. I speak peace over my classroom and joy into the space. It has made a huge difference in my stress levels this year. I feel as though my soul is increasing because of the scaffolded time of meditating on scripture.
I hope you find your 'sweet spot' of learning and that when challenges come this year, that you will be ready to take it on knowing that with the proper supports, and reliance on Christ, you will come through it stronger, wiser and increased! After-all, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! (Phil. 4:13)