On Wednesday nights at my church, I am participating in a DVD teaching series "The Making of a Mentor" by Alicia Britt Chole. This class has been so beneficial to me as I learn more about looking to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior AND as the ultimate mentor. Even more so I am learning about my sometime-not-so-realistic expectations of myself, as a mentor, and of my mentorees.
I learned something this past week that I thought was so insightful that I shared it already with two women that I am mentoring. And they totally got it and had an "AHA!" moment. And I thought I would want to share it with so many more women, but it really takes a visual aid... and where would I find one? Well, I didn't find a visual aid, I had to make these two graphics myself, but I hope they get the point across.
Most of us expect our spiritual growth to be linear. (See graphic above.) Essentially we learn something "a" (and perhaps overcome it) and we move on to the next thing. If we run into "??a??" again, we think WHAT??? that we did not overcome it or learn about it or we are not as spiritually mature as we think we are or that we are even going backwards in our walk with Christ.
But what if we considered that our spiritual growth is more like an upward spiral coil. Where we are constantly growing and maturing in our faith. And as we grow upward, we learn something "a" and we continue to spiral upward in our faith. But when we revisit "a" again we realize that we are actually dealing with it, but at a different level. And perhaps God brings us through it for another visit to refine us or make us complete in our journey. Who knows... perhaps even to help someone else.
For me, I can experience this with my depression. If I looked at my spiritual growth as linear, each time that I experienced a period of time in my depression, I would think that I didn't deal with it properly the first time. Or that I will never really overcome it. But if I look at it in the light of the upward spiral growth, I would see that each time I have a bout with depression thanks-be-to-God it is less severe and does not last as long.
This could apply to addictions. Or perhaps loneliness. Or gossip. Or any area of weakness. As a mentor I need to see this in my mentorees. And I need to see this in myself. Knowing that God is constantly refining us. Constantly growing us.
I pray that these visuals help you if you struggle with wondering if you are truly maturing in your relationship with Christ. Stay in the Scriptures. Continue to Pray. Fellowship with other believers. Memorize or meditate on scripture. Take a Bible Study. Or who knows... find a godly mentor who will help you along the way as you seek to be more like Christ in your daily life.
"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so,
because your faith is growing more and more,
and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing."
2 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV84