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For a long time there were gray lines on our brightly colored, floral kitchen wallpaper.  My brother, sister and I were always eager to compare the measurements dad had made the year before and see that we had grown. Sometimes we couldn’t wait a year and asked him to check us more often, hoping to see a change.  We’d check to make sure everyone had their heels on the floor and stretched our necks up as straight and high as we could.  Just having that little pencil-line proof gave us a little boost of confidence and made us smile proudly.  Of course, inside we hoped to end up taller than the other two siblings.

I was looking at the pencil marks on the wall of my heart today and smiled.  I’ve grown!  It hasn’t been a huge difference from last year or the years before but there is space between the mark that was there and the one God made today.  It boosts my confidence.  I’m learning to recognize pitfalls I’m especially susceptible to and avoiding them more often.  I’m learning to trust whenever I feel afraid, to really give my burdens to Jesus and take rest from Him in return.  I’ve improved in my ability to let go of control (or perceived control) and watch God do His thing.  I feel like He’s helped me label and let go of some fears that have been hurting me.

Notice I’m not saying that I’ve perfected all of this, I’m still growing!  The final mark won’t be scribbled until I reach heaven.  I’ve begun believing more genuinely that it doesn’t matter how tall I am compared to my brothers and sisters.  I’m just glad to make progress, any progress.

When I took piano lessons as a high schooler, there were times when it seemed I was practicing for hours and going to my lessons but nothing really seemed to be improving.  However, when my teacher called my attention to the songs I had done the year before compared to the ones I was working on I saw they were much more difficult and I couldn’t have played them back then.  That really helped me want to keep taking lessons and keep practicing.  It showed me it was worth it.

Go ahead.  Stand up tall next to the wall of your heart and ask God to mark where you are now, then step away and look at the growth with Him.  Even if it’s just a little higher than last time, you’re growing!  Smile, be proud.  It’s all worth it.

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Philippians 3:13-14  NLT