11 April 2018

Giants in the making

Young parents with infants often become intoxicated by the development of their children. Every aspect of their little one’s growth is joyously analysed, photographed, bragged about and recorded in that little blue book they give you when you leave the hospital after he or she is born. Growth is anticipated and celebrated. As the years advance so too their physical development, spiking in the adolescent years then levelling off , until all that is left to grow through the remainder of life is, of all things, our ears and our noses. That’s just great, like I really need a bigger nose!

Imagine if we all kept growing at the same rate all through life. We’d all be giants. Think how annoying that would be. You couldn’t keep wearing that same suit to weddings for 20 years. Your false teeth would constantly need resizing and even your house would need grow to accommodate you. Silly I know, and it seems there is great design in our physical stagnation.

That’s how God designed your physical life, but is that how he designed your soul - the inner you? Who you are is more than flesh and bones. If for example you lost your legs, you are no less you because you are more than the sum of your physical parts. You are a who, not simply a what. Who you are is a person with a unique perspective on of how you see yourself, your emotions, thoughts and longings and how you interpret and respond to your world. This is the immaterial part of you that is constantly becoming material in every aspect of your life – your personality, your priorities, your passions, your relationships and so on.

Now I’m getting to my point. Can that immaterial part of us keep growing right through life? Or does our inner world also stagnate and shrink with time?

I’d like to propose that our souls aren’t designed to stop growing, but rather become increasingly expansive, creative, deliberate and reconciled with life as we age. That you, yes you, can become a living giant, glorious and inspiring like an ancient and majestic Oak tree steadfastly growing through the decades.

Perhaps that all sounds way too romantic. But I do wonder if we think too little of ourselves - our design and potential. I wonder if we’ve overlooked the glory that is in us and as a consequence set a very low bar of expectation for our ongoing growth, especially in the second half of life. Regrettably, the kind of giants I’m describing seem in my experience to be an endangered species.

What do you think? Are there any giants in the landscape of your life? People who all at once affect you, inspire you and humble you. What made them a giant in your eyes? Was it their wisdom, their strength, their humility, their endurance, their generosity? What was it about their inner world that made its way out and influenced you so much?

If they are still alive, thank them. If they are now gone, remember them.

And what about you? Are you also becoming a giant in the making?   More on this next time....

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18