Why Most of Your Growth is Not Visible

“I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only a few understand. All of the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can dimly guess at…

Some of my servants have indeed won great visible victories and are rightly loved and reverenced by other men, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, which no one knows about.”

Hinds’ Feet on High Places (Hurnard, 1975), p.

I turn around and smile. I am at a party where many of my friends have come from far away. We hug, exclaim how wonderful it is to see each other, and I get to have the quick update of their life.

“But how are you? How’s work and life going?”

“Oh well I’m unemployed and looking for a few jobs,” I say. “Everything’s a bit difficult but I’m growing a lot. A lot of things are happening.”

“Oh wow, like what’s happening?”

“Umm…”

My mind trails off to the areas of growth in my life and I realise that it’s too personal to share now, in the context of a party. There’s no dramatic change and I cannot pinpoint in the moment how I am growing. I just know that I’m growing and that my thoughts are shifting internally.

It made me think about how we portray growth and success. It made me think of how I market my personal growth to others.

Just because you are not making any dramatic changes in your life doesn’t mean that your life is not expanding.

Sometimes I think that we place a big emphasis on the big moments: moving out, graduating from university, and landing the dream job.

I have always had a particle of affection for the small moments: clearing out the clutter before the move, the relief of handing in the essay that you spent many sleepless nights working on, and the moment when you walk out of an interview confidently, knowing that it went well.

My growth comes from these small moments, of doing and achieving but not yet succeeding. My growth is usually what makes up my character; my humour or steadfastness. My procrastination or my confidence. These are the things that exist underneath the outward exterior of the body. These are the things that are mostly invisible.

Most of your growth is not visible. 

I often feel a lot of pressure and I put a lot of pressure on myself. To work hard, to push towards my goals, and to achieve a purpose. To make the world a better place. I would like to succeed and I would like to be seen as successful.

Yet, in many ways my life is moving in an opposite direction. I’m moving towards careers that are rewarding but not necessarily financially successful. I’m moving to the undesirable places, where you don’t necessarily want to live. I’m moving towards purposes that guarantee my anonymity.

I am growing and expanding in ways that I never dreamed. The depth of how I see my life and how my life is playing out is diving into these depths and creating new thoughts and new points of view.

Yet, this is growth that is invisible to a larger audience. For good reason, I believe. My growth as a person, my growth as a confident young woman, my growth as a follower of Christ is expanding but the expansion is private. However, that is the way it needs to be right now. That is the way it usually is.

Most of your growth is not visible.

This encourages me in many ways. To know that my victories are not necessarily a show. To see that my beliefs can come from seasons of doubts and come out stronger. To understand that I do not owe the world my story, especially when I’m living through it now.

This may also relate to you too. You don’t have to explain your invisible growth. We will already see some of the impact of this growth but you don’t owe the world a success story. You don’t owe me some of your vulnerability. What is inside you doesn’t belong to me or the rest of the world.

Most of your growth is not visible. 

And you know what? That’s okay.

-Savvy

Hurnard, Hannah (1975), Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Tyndale House

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