Today, I’m talking about my least favorite word. When I say least favorite, I kind of mean the word I hate the most. I call it the G-word… GROWTH. Why do I hate the G-word? Because it’s painful. That’s right, you don’t have growth without pain. That’s why they call it growing pains…

Growing as a Student and Writer

I was working on a school assignment. Seems basic, but it was a book review. I actually find book reviews quite challenging because it’s really hard for me to express my own opinion. In my masters program, the professors drilled two things into my head.

  1. Do not summarize! Analyze!! Do not repeat what’s already written!!
  2. We don’t care what you think! We care what other people think! Do not make any opinions or claims! Only write what has already been proven and reference! reference! reference!!
Do I Have an Opinion? You Care About What I Think?!

So, when I started my ph.d. program a year ago, I had a really hard time with critiquing books because I kept on thinking, “What do I have to say?! I thought you only care what other people think?!” Seriously…I got an A- in my Great Books class, which seems stupid since it was just a bunch of book reviews. When I say a bunch, it was maybe 12-15 book reviews! But, at the time, I just had the hardest time writing a critique! An A- really was the best that I could do! At first, I thought the assignments were dumb, but then I realized this program is preparing me to conduct my own research and become a writer…I better learn to find my voice! I better grow as a writer…but how do I grow?

 

Walking in Obedience

I started this ph.d. program out of obedience to God. That’s it. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing. And this kind of kills me because I’m a very goal-oriented person. I would like to have my life figured out but I don’t! I just don’t! I didn’t plan to be working retail at age 31, but here I am! So, do I know what I’m doing in a ph.d. program or what I’m going to do after? NO! But… I’m being obedient to where God called me.

That’s the same mentality I have to apply as I go through the program. I just have to be diligent in my studies and show up day after day. Submit each paper…even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s late. So many times, I felt like an utter failure! Seriously! My perfectionism and fear of failure reached an all time high a few months ago. Then there was guilt over fearing failure! When God says to work out your faith with “fear and trembling,” I really felt like I was doing just that! Each day was a struggle to take a step in obedience even though I was full of fear.

What is Obedience?

Obedience is, taking a step in the direction God is calling you, even if you are afraid.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

At one point in my studies, I came to the conclusion: the problem is, I’m not courageous. I have no courage in me to take the risks I need to take, to do the things I need to do. But then I realized, courage is not the absence of fear, it is the obedience to do what you have to do in spite of fear. This verse is saying, you don’t have to be afraid, because God is with you! In those moments when I felt paralyzed, I would remind myself of this verse. Even if I felt afraid, I would go through the motions anyways and ask God to help me. No joke, at one point I started to play with the idea of dropping out of my program! But I had to remind myself, if God called me to it, he will get me through it! Overtime, I completed each assignment and submitted. It wasn’t done perfectly, but I got it done out of obedience.

The G-Word….GROWTH

Then, today, I was working on a book review. I was shocked because all of a sudden, I had all these strong opinions about the book! I was using all these strong words, some of them, I wasn’t even sure I used correctly! I literally had to go double-check a dictionary, only to find out it was exactly what I meant to say! I realized that somehow, somewhere along the way…I changed. Overtime, I grew as a writer and I learned to develop my own opinions.

Honestly, I think blogging has a big part to do with it. When I blog, I’m pretty much only writing about my personal experience, opinion, and God’s revelation to me. The other part is I had experience writing 12-15 crappy book reviews, and several 20-page papers! They weren’t perfect. They didn’t meet my standards… In fact, I felt like a huge failure at times! But apparently, the more I write, the better I get.

My point is… all that trying and failing, it mattered. It helped me grow as a writer. It didn’t feel like it at the time. It just felt crazy painful, but now looking back, I realize I grew!

Encouragement to Walk Obediently

I want to encourage you to be diligent! Be faithful! Walk in obedience! Take heart, God is with you! And he will never leave you or forsake you! I’ll leave you with this verse:

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

What are you struggling with right now? How is God calling you to be obedient?

Outfit Details:

This is one of my favorite finds from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this blazer for it’s sleek lines and feminine details. The peplum helps accentuate my waist and adds some flair to the back. I also love the ruching on the sleeves. I’m wearing a XXSP, so you probably want to size down. This blazer is currently 50% off for Labor Day, so make sure to get it before it’s gone!

I paired the blazer with my favorite slacks from J.Crew, the Easy Pant. These are also currently on sale for 40% off! They’re great because it has a partial elastic waist band in the back, and they’re super flowy. Basically, I can eat anything I want and still fit in these pants, which is exactly why they are currently my fave!

Thanks for visiting!

-Mel

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