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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 44 - 45 of the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure

Today I'm reading Luke 18:18-30.

"Unless you try to do something
beyond what you have already mastered,
 you will never grow."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we switch to a new theme for the 50 Day Adventure - moving beyond your comfort zones. 
It's easy to get stuck. We get comfortable where we are. We even get comfortable with our misery because it often feels easier to stay where we are rather than to summon up the necessary energy and fortitude to initiate change. That's because, at first, the new thing will feel more painful that the whatever it is you are dealing with right now. 
That's always true. Trying anything new means accepting some short term pain in order to gain some long term benefit. Doing new things makes us nervous. We feel insecure. Self-conscious. We question. What if we fail? What if we look stupid? What about unforeseen consequences? If we knew all the answers ahead of time it would be easier, but we can't. And so many people never try. 
But God has designed us to reach for more. To take appropriate risks is a part of life and growth and health. The rich young ruler couldn't let go of his present in order to have a better future. He couldn't envision what Christ was really calling him to. He was stuck in his golden cage of wealth and walked away from Jesus.
And Jesus let him go.
Hopefully, one day he came back - but we'll never know until heaven. 
Is there an area in your life where you need to grow? Some place you need to risk or try or stretch? There's always more to learn. That's what keeps life fresh. That's what keeps your mind active as you grow older. 
I have spent a lot of time in my life as a student and teacher of Japanese martial arts. One of the concepts imbedded in this study is the idea of "sho-shin" which means "beginner's mind." The idea is to be a life-long learner. That nobody ever knows it all no matter how long they have been at it. Approaching life with a beginner's mind means believing you can learn from anybody. Every person can be your teacher about something if you are willing to learn. That requires awareness and humility. 
So be open to how God might want to stretch you. Be open to many teachers, even unlikely people. God may be using them to grow your faith in ways you never thought possible.

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