I saw a poster the other day.  It said:

Growth is optional.

That’s true, isn’t it?  Change is life.  Growth is optional.

I’ve been thinking about that ever since and I keep coming back to the passage in John that talks about abiding as part of the vine.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”  — John 15:1-6, ESV

The quote which first grabbed my attention sums this up pretty well, I think.  And it captures part of the passage I don’t often contemplate.

I know if I abide in Christ – using the vine metaphor – I will receive what I need to grow, thrive, and be fruitful.  There will be a change in me as I become more Christ-like and more of the woman I was created to be.

But there will be a change in me if I don’t abide in Christ, too.

That’s what the quote I saw the other day captured so well.  Change will happen.  But will the change be growth or death?

C.S. Lewis put it this way,

[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.

Change will happen, it is not optional.  The question becomes: Will I grow or wither?  In the little moments, do I choose life or death?