Growth is Ugly

by Andy Wood on May 6, 2015

in Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase


I’ve received just under 10,000 calls, texts, or emails over the last few weeks, all wanting to know the same thing:  How’s the little sequoia tree doing?

So rather than answer it both all of them at once, I thought I’d give you an update here.

It’s ugly.

Not slow death, needles-falling ugly.  Just the opposite.  It’s fast-growth ugly.

One wild branch has taken off to the side like Sherman through Georgia.  Others have shot out in various other directions at lesser speeds.  And finally, when I got some consistent sunlight on it, the little guy started growing some height.

That whole “majestic” thing?  Yeah, that’s for a later time.  But the tree’s experience is an important reminder to us all…

Growth is ugly.

Increase is awkward.  It’s anything but well-proportioned and smooth.  Proportions are for the mature or almost-mature.

Remember when you started transitioning from a child’s body to an adult’s? One of the first clues, of all things, was the size of your feet.  Everything didn’t shoot up or round out at the same pace.  But that’s the price you pay to grow. Hence the phrase, “growing pains.”

The same goes for spiritual growth in the lives of individuals.  Every believer goes through a sophomore stage.  Know where the term “sophomore” comes from?  Two Greek words – Sophia, meaning “wisdom,” and moron, meaning, well, “moron.” A sophomore is a wise moron.  Somebody with just enough knowledge to be stupid.

Boy have I had some sophomore moments!  I shudder to think of some of the times I got a little spiritual knowledge and was a complete fool in how I tried to apply it.  But that’s what growth does. It creates dozens and dozens of those little awkward moments until we develop the wisdom and sense of proportion we need to use that wisdom well.

Jesus took 12 men through a three-year growth experience.  Talk about awkward!  Talk about disproportionate development! These guys had it all. Success followed by epic failure.  Wisdom interrupted by foolishness.  Miracles followed by petty arguments.  But growth nonetheless.

The poster child for “nonetheless” was Simon Peter.  What I love about that man was that he was willing to fail – to look like a fool for the ages – if it meant growing in his walk with Christ.  He was willing to repeatedly get it wrong in order to be the man who ultimately got it right.

What about you?  Are you willing to look clumsy for a season if it means that in the long run you are established in strength, wisdom, and maturity?  Are you willing to face plant a few times it if means that ultimately you are standing on the heights?  Are you willing to get it wrong if it means ultimately you will get it right?

Growth is ugly.  Until it isn’t.

Increase is awkward.  Until it becomes elegant.

I wonder if, in your life, the call today is to put away some childish things… even if you find yourself tripping all over yourself in the process.

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