November 15, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Growing Into Your Destiny

On several occasions, I have mentioned to you readers that I was raised poor.

And if the truth be known, I am glad I was.

Why? Was it because I enjoyed not having things, or being forced to learn to “make do” with secondhand things, or even having to wear hand-me-down clothes? Of course not!

I’m glad because being raised poor shaped me into the person I am today. Note: I did not say I was “poorly raised.” I said I was “raised poor.”

There is a huge difference in the two.

Many a child who has never wanted for anything, materialistically speaking, has been raised very poorly. Conversely, many a child who lacked most everything, materialistically speaking, had a stellar raising!

It’s amazing how God places circumstances into our lives that constrain us in some ways, while leaving us the room we need to develop into the person He intends.

I remember that about twice a year momma and daddy would take us kids to town to buy us shoes. I remember placing my feet on a metal measuring device that determined shoe size. Once my correct size was determined, the shoe salesman would start bringing shoes from the stockroom. Momma and daddy would make me put them on and stand up. Then they would make me walk around the room and come back and stand in front of them. They would then kneel and place their thumb between my big toe and the end of the shoe.

If there wasn’t at least a thumb’s width between the end of my big toe and the end of the shoe, preferably more, they would send the salesman back to get a bigger size. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I realized what they were doing. As a child, I simply thought they were getting me shoes that fit properly for the moment. And I never questioned how shoes, a size to big, could be the proper fit. I though all kids wore shoes like that. That wasn’t the case at all.

Momma and daddy realized that I was a growing boy and the size shoe that fit me in the moment wouldn’t fit me by the time they could afford new shoes.  So, what they did was buy shoes that met my immediate need while simultaneously providing ample room for me to grow into the size shoe they purchased.

Our life circumstances, both good and bad, are part of our growth process. They mold and shape us. However, we must insure they never constrain us to the point where there is no room to grow. If we only give room for the right now, the immediate, without providing room to grow, we’ll soon be in trouble. We tend to think that when we encounter horrific life circumstances that they can somehow break us. That’s not true. They can bruise us, hurts us, twist us, bend us, mold us, and constrain us.

However, we are always the totality of who we are. Our bruised ego is still our ego. Our hurt feelings are still our feelings. Our sick body is still our body. In the greater context, there are no pieces of me; there’s just me. I come as a package deal. The same is true of you. There are no pieces of you; there’s just you. You come as a package deal.

And like it or not, often it is the horrific life circumstances we encounter that cause us to grow. We must realize this and provide ourselves ample room to grow into our destiny.

The saddest sight in the world is the sight of a person who has become so constrained by their life circumstances, that they have not left themselves room to grow. So, I close with this: Who are you? What has shaped you? Who do you want to be? Here’s the Good News: Through Jesus Christ, despite your life circumstances, there’s room for you to grow into your destiny!

Brother Aaron

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