Day 6: Growth

This post is a part of The 15-Day Relationship Challenge. If you’re just now tuning in, click here for the whole series.

Growth. Who am I becoming?

Good morning. Welcome to Day 6. How is the challenge going so far for you? 

Growth happens in all kinds of ways. We grow physically, vertically and horizontally (unfortunately!). We grow mentally in our knowledge and wisdom. We also grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

Not all growth is wanted. Sometimes, we grow in directions that we don’t like. This most often shows up physically, but we also grow in unwanted ways emotionally as well. This can include things like growing resentments, growing disapproval of others, or growing anger at the way life is turning out.

You may not have noticed, but if you’ve completed each day thus far, you’re already experiencing growth. Just like the season of winter, growth first takes place below the surface. It’s only in the spring when we see the fruits of what has been growing in the winter. If someone else is going through this process with you, they too are growing. 

Growing is a painful process. Do you remember the growing pains from childhood? I can remember waking up in the middle of the night with the spot behind my knees aching with pain. I wanted to grow, but I didn’t like how it was happening. And this is the dilemma for us all: We want the results without the pain of getting there. Unfortunately, pain is always a part of the growth process. 

There is a lottery for becoming a millionaire, but there is no lottery to become an emotional savant, or relational guru (or whatever the equivalent is to a millionaire). The only way to become who God has created us to be, is to do the work God has called us to do. Wendell Berry speaks beautifully about this work: “It may be when we no longer know what we have to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”

In your current comings and goings in life, do you like who you are becoming? Do you like how you’re responding to stress, responsibility, and the other challenges of life as an adult? Do those closest to you like who you are, and who you are becoming? 

Unfortunately it is really easy to focus on who we don’t want to become (a parent, sibling, boss, or some other authority figure we had a poor experience with) because we’re really afraid of becoming like that person. The reality is we become like those with whom we surround ourselves with, and like those who we study.

Instead of focusing on who we don’t want to be, we need to focus on who it is that we’d like to become. This is where growth happens. When we see the work that it is going to take for us to get from who we are, to who we want to become. Do you know who you are trying to become?

Reflection Questions:

  • What did I notice about me in reading today’s material? 
  • Did I have feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind? 

Spend some time reflecting on the questions from the 2nd to last paragraph above, and then answer these questions: 

  • Who (or what) are you afraid of becoming? 
  • Who do you aspire to be like? 
  • What are 3 areas of growth you have seen in your life over the past few years? 
  • What prompted you to make these changes?
  • What changes do you want to make in the coming year?


Hello! Welcome back. Great to see you again. How was your day? 

This morning we talked about growth and who we are becoming, and I hope you took some time to reflect on the reading and questions that were posed. 

Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day. 

  • What were the highs and lows?
  • Where were you surprised? 
  • Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)?
  • From this mornings reading, what stood out to you? 
  • If you’re willing, share your answers from the reflection questions. 

Assignment Connection
Pick a person that came up from your assignment (someone you want to be like, or not like), and share that story in as much detail as you’d like to share. 


15-Day Relationship Challenge

Relationships are a lot like owning a house. Unlike calling our landlord in a rental, when something goes wrong with the plumbing, HVAC, or roof, owning a home means that it’s my responsibility to address the problem. I would say that the majority of us naturally respond to our relationships like it’s a rental property — It’s their problem, not mine.  Over time this mindset erodes the foundation of the relationship, and it doesn’t take much of a storm to do quite a bit of damage.  

This relationship challenge will address your personal foundation and how that impacts your relationship foundation. By the end of the next 15 days, you’ll better know your personal story, your relationship story, and the things that get in the way of what you hope and desire. As with all things in life, we harvest what we plant. As you begin, ask yourself what you hope to get out of this (be honest!) and how much you will invest of your time, energy, attention, and patience.  You will get out of this what you put in.

Overview of the Process

The focus for the first week is on the story of me, and the second week is on the story of us. This will promote lighthearted, but meaningful engagements. Growth takes place with one positive experience after another.  

Each day for the next 15 days, there will be a short read and then there will be some questions for you to consider throughout the day. These questions will be more like a lantern to guide your way, than they are a finish line to complete. Try to engage the questions reflectively instead of checking the boxes. You may not realize it, but doing so will build the necessary muscles of your “soul” that will help you in your relationship. Finally there will be an assignment to do for the day as you go into work or life. 

There will be an assignment of connection for you and your spouse for the evening. Revisit what come up during the morning, what happened in your day, name your hopes and needs, and then close with reading the prayer or meditation together.  

It would be helpful for you to get a journal so you can jot down notes about your process. Throughout the challenge, I’m going to use the words “marriage” and “relationship” interchangeably. While this process can be helpful to any relationship, the majority of interpersonal issues we experience show up the most acutely in our intimate relationships. 

Some of the material might lead to conflict in your relationship. That’s ok. I’d encourage you to “press pause” if a conflict arises that feels like it is getting out of hand. Take a break, and continue with the challenge tomorrow.   

Day 1 – Hello! The gift of welcome. 
Day 2 – Roles. Where we come from.
Day 3 – Personalities. Who we are.
Day 4 – Top 5, Part 1. Keystone Stories of Loss.
Day 5 – Top 5, Part 2. Keystone Stories of Joy.
Day 6 – Growth. Who am I becoming?
Day 7 – Rest. Let all things be.
Day 8 – Remember Us. Our story. 
Day 9 – Grace. Sweat the small stuff. 
Day 10 – Celebrate. Our wins.
Day 11 – Bless. Our losses.
Day 12 – Responsibility. Making amends.
Day 13 – Forgiveness. Letting go, holding on.
Day 14 – Rest, part 2. We’re going to be ok.
Day 15 – A New Vision. Hope.

Testing Relationships

Depending on the age difference, kids test out their emotions on their siblings. Kids yell, hit, scream, cry, manipulate, shut down, lie, cheat, steal, and pout. They are working out how to be in relationships with themselves and the people they live with. 

These tests are pretty safe to run, because kids don’t get a choice to leave or stay. So there is a lot of latitude they have with how they treat one another. 

A lot of times these “tests” don’t go all that well. But it’s ok, because kids don’t really know what they are doing. That is not the case as adults. We will run off the people who are close to us if we keep testing them. 

At some level, we all keep running these tests with those closest to us, especially in our marriage. Yes, we’re adults, but we’re still trying to figure out ourselves, and life. 

If we continue these behaviors in our marriages, it will lead to us treating our spouse more like a sibling than a lover. 

What tests are you running in your marriage? What questions about yourself are you trying to answer by testing your relationships? 


Serving Time

Each day is full of potential. Usually this “potential” is beyond what we know to be possible. Potential successes. Potential failures. We sometimes wake up with great expectations, and other times with great dread. But we all wake up in the same position: Unable to change time. We can’t make it pass faster, or slower. 

There are two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos. 

Chronos is about the chronological, the counting, or tracking of time. This is why we have clocks: To track, count, and measure. 

Kairos is about the actions or purpose we take in time. Opportunity. Criticality. Possibility

Each day we are faced with a decision about how we will serve the time we are given. Will we serve it chronologically in how we pass or track the time. Some times, it’s all we can do to just get through it. TGIF.  

Or will we serve it with opportunity and possibility? Purposefully. With hope and anticipation.

The great thing about this question of how will we serve time is that it doesn’t matter how we did or didn’t serve it yesterday, we get another choice today.