Another worthwhile post from “integrity”

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In addressing how sacrifice helps set our growth patterns as people of character, Dr. Henry Cloud has this to say:

“It begins with investment.  It doesn’t begin with just saying we care about something.  It has to be exercised, and internalized.  But like all internalizations or growth, the structure of the patterns have to be exercised first, both to wean oneself from the pull of the shallow existence that is comfortable, as well as find the realization of the fulfillment of the deeper life.  If you never stop eating potato chips to try a steady diet of healthy food, you will never realize the true change of taste that happens when you eat what your body was designed to eat.  But after you do, and sustain it, you can never go back, other than for an occasional holiday binge that ultimately your system rejects and you find yourself longing to be back on the wagon.

People who develop this kind of transformation and sustain it do it with a structured approach, at least in the beginning.  They take a class, get a spiritual director or mentor, volunteer in an organization, join a growth group, or find some other path that has a structure to it.  When they do that, and it includes the elements of awareness, a template, stretching experiences, practice, correction, feedback, it slowly becomes their own.  Then they might morph the structures to fit their own style or needs or even launch out into something new.  But, first, they submit to some structured growth path to stretch themselves and mold this aspect of their being.

The more that they adapt and submit themselves to that structure, the more that they see aspects of themselves that are not as transcendent as they once thought.  They are humbled and see the need to grow even more.  The task that they are about gets them in touch with both the enormity of the need that they have given themselves to, as well as their own inadequacies to meet that need or to measure up to the path of the ones who have gone before them.”

I can think back and retrace all of the moments in my life where I have had to submit to someone else in my life that I knew could teach me something more about life as well as myself.  I am thankful for the mentors that I have had and do have in my life.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to mentor others and see the growth in their lives.

What are the things in your life that you have had to yield to?  In those areas, how have you grown?  What has shaped the values that you live by?  I’d love to hear from you…

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