I am sure there are doctors that can explain the growth process in our bodies or a horticulturist that understands how cells divide to produce larger plants, but when it comes to spiritual and emotional growth, that's harder. Research has been gathered over our development and developmental psychologists organize us into stages that seem to outline what we can expect.
Even with all the progress, we cannot force growth. We can provide an environment that provide everything needed to grow using the right nutrients, temperatures, and watering schedules in the case of plant material. Our parenting skills and research help us with providing the best environments for children to reach their full potential. Even so, two children can grow up in the same home under the same influences and reach such different conclusions.
Spiritually, people seek out religion to find something they can do to move in their growth toward God. Ps. 1 calls God's people"... trees planted by the rivers of water." A tree does not have control his own growth. He is in the hands of the gardener. Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David" referring to this passage says a planted tree was chosen by the gardener. He did not even have control over being picked. The gardener in his kindness placed him in an optimal place, where the river sediment was rich in nutrients and the water would be plentiful making conditions excellent for survival and growth. The tree can imagine himself an oak or prefer to be a delicate mimosa, but he pretty much is what he is. Through stretching or bending can he strive to grow taller, have brighter leaves in the fall, or kick out the squirrel that has found a hole to place nuts? His job is to be still and yield to the gardener. Sure, new opportunities will come him way (he could be on just the right riverbed to give him just what he needs to be the best tree he can be.) Some are saying if he thinks long and hard, his dream will come to him giving him control over his destiny.
So, spiritually, are you yielding? I think in our American culture regardless of how you differ from me in your faith, we are all seeking a formula. "Just give it to me in points, please, at least I can check those off!" I would encourage you to long to get to know God. If He is the gardener who controls your growth, then learning who He is and what He is telling you becomes the optimum growth move. Romans 6:13″...yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." The constant fight in life is I can control my own destiny. We can try to influence our opportunities, reach for our goals, and in some cases see small changes in our lives, but even those are part of a larger plan.
Denise Broadwater is a licensed professional counselor in private practice. She has dedicated to life to helping those who desire a better life. Visit her site at http://fullyaliveonline.com/blog