Do you have a “growth mindset?”
Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor of psychology, is known for her work on “mindset.” Many people, she argues, have a “fixed mindset,” where they view talent as something that is innate. For many, success comes from being innately gifted. With a fixed mindset, you either got it or you don’t, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The growth mindset views talent as something that can be developed through risk taking, hard work, and ongoing coaching and feedback from others. Those with a growth mindset treat life with more curiosity and regularly pursue learning, because they believe in their capacity to grow and get better at what is important to them.
Dweck’s research shows that having this understanding of ourselves—this view that we have the capacity to keep getting better—is significantly correlative to success in almost every field. Generally, those who do well in life are those who keep pursuing growth.
I think Dweck is onto something, and I think her findings have overlap with how we understand Christian growth. When Paul speaks of the possibility of repentance, when he describes “putting off the old man” and putting on Christ, he is teaching us that, through the Holy Spirit, we have the capacity to change. We can get better at following Jesus. We can grow in Christlikeness. When it comes to the Christian life we too should be curious, should take risks, should constantly pursue development. We should have a Christian growth mindset.
This is one of the reasons I’m really excited that so many of our church are participating in discipleship groups this fall. Because this is what discipleship groups are all about. Discipleship groups are about doing hard work together, encouraging and coaching each other with the truths of Scripture, even prayerfully taking risks together, all out of a conviction that, in Christ, we can grow.
I love our church. Trinity is truly a beautiful congregation. But I believe that we have the Spirit-given capacity to be even more—to even more fully and more beautifully embody Christ to the world around us. And I am excited to see where God is taking us as we seek to grow.
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