Have you ever reflected back on things you went through in life and just acknowledged how things kept moving right along? In our minds, it seems we imagine some things and think to ourselves “Man, that would devastate me.” As if the world would stop. When it happens though and we realize we are in the thick of it, we find that time goes on anyway. Life constantly goes on, and we either sit stagnant or we move forward with the intent of repurposing this new scar.
When we find ourselves in that broken place, there are two choices that could be made. The choices are determined by our perception of life, or our mindset. The perception we choose determines our behavior.
I did it or I didn’t. I have it or I don’t. I need to demonstrate this.
In this mindset, others are in control. You are under tremendous, continuous pressure to demonstrate your worth or right to be there. This is as if life is a set of stairs where if you fail to perform, you become separated from the next stair.
It drives your behavior to see others as above you, as threats, and magnifies insecurity and inadequacy. This mindset makes the next step seem too far or even out of reach completely because “you just weren’t dealt a good hand.” You become a victim of life rather than a participant.
I can do something with this. I can get better. I need to practice this.
In this mindset, you are in control. You exercise your individuality through free will and continuous improvement. Hurdles in life are seen as opportunities to develop a new perception or learn something new. Even when things go wrong, you see it all as connected.
In a life that constantly moves forward, we will find ourselves lacking and broken if we see ourselves as only given one dose to last a lifetime.
What Does The Bible Say About Growth?
There are many instances where a growth mindset is encouraged. The great thing about the Bible is how it lays out the result of it rather than just encouraging it.
“Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning..”
This shows that there is always something to learn. If we are fixed, that means we think there is nothing else to add to us, that we either have it or we don’t. But this thinking leads us to question what is the purpose of wisdom if it is not available for those who would be willing to take it?
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Jesus represented the growth mindset and confirms that in this explanation of the parable of the farmer scattering seed (the sower). Our growth comes through persevering and continually adding our past experiences with new ones. We also read in Luke 2:52 which says “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
To continue with the above verse, this scripture shows the linear connection of development. It says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”
It goes on to show the connection of character traits established through growth: “And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church (the unity of people), the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
This verse highlights the role of various church leaders, but what we can all get out of this is that if there are people in place to guide us, there must be something to be guided toward. If we are fixed on our “given measure” and not on continuous development, then there would be nothing to gain from leaders inspired by Christ. If there is nothing to learn, there is nothing to love about ourselves or others. Proverbs 1:7 says that the beginning of knowledge is fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord means obedience and response to correction with a grateful heart. Proverbs 3:12 teaches us that the Father corrects those he loves. So the beginning of knowledge is understanding correction as a good thing, and that correction and wisdom are prerequisites to love.
•2 Peter 1:5-8
A final word showing the gradual development and spiritual benefits of adopting a growth mindset.
“Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”
Having a fixed mindset deceives us into thinking we were given all we needed for our lives in one fell swoop. It can lead us to think that if it isn’t something we already know or have, it must not be for us. This robs us of the possibility of supplementing ourselves with the spirit of God, which is the source of wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:11). It also keeps a closed door on human connections as many intimate relationships are initiated through sharing.
We were not intended to be like soda bottles with pre-determined sizes and filled by a machine only to that level.
Life isn’t measured that way, and God certainly did not design it that way. God is our Creator. He isn’t the designer of a profitable business where only so much asset (knowledge) can be invested in each bottle (person). He is the Creator of life, where value cannot be measured and people are not limited by any capacity but their own. It is up to us to get as much out of life as we can. After all, that is what connects us with our Creator in the first place. You are loved.