Growing, changing, learning, discovering--all some of my favorite things. It's the process that I love, rather than the final destination. In the middle of things, I usually find myself wishing for something more straightforward, more cut-and-dried, longing for some concrete, step-by-step instructions to just figure it out already! Yet, in the end, that isn't what satisfies me because that isn't what makes me grow. That isn't what makes the lessons part of who I am.
I've learned this about myself over the course of the past few years. And I love seeing that same process in other people. The problem: I'm not very good at letting that process happen in other people, especially those closest to me.
So often, I see someone struggling with something so similar to what I've dealt with in the past. I want so badly for them to come to the same understanding that I have--lessons in grace, thankfulness, joy, perseverance...whatever it may be. Unfortunately, I tend to lay it out for them as a step-by-step plan of action (or try to condense all of the details and connections and everything that made my experience meaningful into a little bite-sized speech that loses its significance). I forget that God doesn't work inside a box. He doesn't work the same way in every person. The lessons might ultimately be the same, but the process by which they're learned is unique to each person.
God is personal. He's relational, and that's how He teaches us. The way He communicates with my best friend or my boyfriend or my little brother might be completely unrecognizable to me at first glance...
...and that's a good thing.
It's such proof of how well God knows each of us, not just on a surface level but deeply. He knows how our minds work, He knows our hearts, and He knows exactly what makes us tick. He gets me enough to know to communicate with me through books and lyrics and falling leaves. He knows the jumps my mind makes to connect seemingly unrelated ideas into something so profound.
He knows I'll get it.
If He can do that for me on such a deeply personal level, won't He do the same for everyone else, communicating with them in ways that I might not understand?
The thing is, I understand the concept mentally. I get it. And that leaves me here: how do I live like I get it? How does it look in real life? Because that's what I want to do, both with my life and in my relationships.
I want to be able to foster that kind of growth in other people without resorting to giving unnecessary advice and telling them what they need to do.* I want to help other people discover the answers for themselves, because really, that's what it's all about anyway. That's how we grow, and I want to help people grow. I want to be able to step back and let God do His thing and not get in the way. Still, there's a place for human influence. Where's the balance between sitting back and doing nothing and going too far?
I don't know.
I don't have the answers this time.
This is one of those posts I can't wrap up nice and neat, because I'm still trying to figure it out myself. So I'm asking--have you ever wrestled with this before? I know that the answer varies from situation to situation, but what have some of your experiences been?**
And, I don't know. Maybe this is one of those things that can't ever really be answered, because it can't be put into a box. Maybe there isn't an answer. Maybe it just has to be lived and figured out along the way, different for every single situation. And maybe I need to be okay with that.
*I definitely think advice has its place, but right now, I need to learn not to give it. I have a tendency to think I have the answers, when in reality, I don't at all.
**Think about this in terms of personal relationships, like friendships or marriage or even children, on a spiritual level. That's where I struggle most. How do you help someone grow spiritually without trying to give them all the answers?