Growing in a Pause
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
It seems like our entire world has come into this "pause" state, with the COVID-19 pandemic. Normal, as we knew it, has ceased as every country, state, and family does what it can to contain the spread of this virus.
As a homebody, I happily embraced this season to stay home. After all, my dream is to one day be at home full time as a content-creator, and someday wife and mother. I thought about how much time I would have to study Scripture and talk with Jesus, my morning personal devotions were going to be AWESOME! I was going to have so much time to spend on personal growth and accomplish all kinds of things.
How quickly I realized that more time does not equal automatic growth.
Growth requires intentionality.
My charge to you is to fully embrace this season. Does this mean you need to be hyper productive? Absolutely not! I'm all for being intentional about rest and making time for a Sabbath. However, with the extra time we have in this season, let us be good stewards.
And because I'm all about intentional application, here are a few tools to help you grow in this season.
1. Give Yourself Grace
This is kind of a first for you, and the whole world. It took me a solid week before I came to the realization that I needed to make some changes in this season. Life looks different now, you're stuck at home with the same people day after day, and you're not really sure how you should do it, much less what you should be doing.
Give yourself grace.
Watched too much media? Give yourself grace.
Didn't get dressed today? Give yourself grace.
Blew up at a family member today? Give yourself grace.
Don't get caught up in a condemnation cycle, bring it to God then let it go. Ask for His enabling grace to help you in this season.
2. Pick a Focus Area
So we know we want to grow, and be intentional in this season, but where do we start? If you're like me there's probably a hundred different things you want to change (can I get an amen from all the perfectionists?). However, to make our growth more effective and attainable, we're going to just choose one or two focus areas.
You may already have something in the back of your mind. I would also encourage you to ask God what He wants you to focus on in this season? Does He want you to learn how to rest? Is He beckoning you to draw closer to Him? Is He inspiring you to start something new? Does He want you to be intentional about connecting? Is there a specific habit He wants you to cultivate or overcome?
Alright, do you have your focus area(s)? Good! Write them down!
3. Set Specific Intentions
Now comes time to clarify what this looks like for you.
Why do you want to cultivate this area in your life?
What needs to change?
What specifically do you need to do? How are you going to go about growing in this area?
If you still not sure how to go about this, some people find writing their intentions using the SMART format is helpful.
4. Be Accountable
Share your ideas for growth in this season with a mentor or friend. Yes, it is possible to still grow and fulfill your intentions without accountability...but it is a lot harder and you'll have much more success by opening yourself up to accountability.
Take the time to ask how they are being intentional during this time and keep each other accountable. Not only will this help you stick with your growth goals, but it will help you stay connected with meaningful conversation.
5. Check In
Check in, not only with your accountability partner, but with yourself. I like to do this daily when I can. Reflect how you did on your focus areas for the day. Write down what went well, what didn't, what needs. to change for tomorrow, etc. Depending on the focus area using a tracker or log might help.
Growth is often slow, by checking in we are able to see and celebrate the small wins along the way.
6. Set Yourself Up For Success
This is a bonus tip that has helped me with habit formation over the years: Do whatever you can to set yourself up for success.
Here are some ideas:
- Make some tea, grab a glass of water, or some snacks to keep on hand.
- Prep what you can the night before, it'll make for an easier morning and serve as a reminder
- Gather all your materials before you sit down for some focused work time.
- Take a shower, do your hair, get dressed.
- Silence distractions.
The "pause" doesn't mean we put our lives on hold. Let's be intentional about growth in this season. Whatever we find to do, let us work: with willing hands, with excellence, and as an act of worship.