Amy Carroll » Growing Spiritually » The Key to Real Growth

The Key to Real Growth

I’m a brain-science geek.

After earning a degree in education and spending years in classrooms teaching both children and adults, I’m fascinated by how God wired our brains. We’re such complex creatures, and as my son’s doctor said recently, that very complexity speaks of an amazing Creator.

I’m also fascinated by how the physical world God spoke into being often reflects spiritual truths and the spiritual laws that govern it. Yesterday, while I was riding down the road, I heard an interesting story on NPR about how babies acquire language and some claims that toy companies are making that might not be true.

Toys that teach are all the rage, but some companies say that they have produced toys that teach babies to talk. These companies boast big things about their battery operated toys, but is it true?

Researchers say it’s not.

The reporter of the story said it this way, “Interaction, the give and take between baby and parent, is key because early learning is intensely social.” In the audio example with the toy, the baby doesn’t vocalize, but in the audio with a parent, the baby coos back in response. Fascinating stuff! (If you’d like to listen to the whole 3-minute story, click here.)

I pondered this information for a few minutes, and then I felt God begin to speak to my heart.

God, our loving Father, desires the same intimate social interaction with us, His children. Not only does He desire it, but it’s actually the way He’s wired us to learn and grow the best.

For years and years, I thought what I most needed was to hear what others had to say about the Bible. I leaned on some of the greatest Bible teachers of our time to tell me what the Bible said, and that’s not a bad thing. I’ll tell you what’s better, though. When I started to read the Bible myself and to ask God to teach me, then I really started to thrive. It was the direct interaction of listening to and speaking to my Father that fueled my growth more than any other method.

Please hear me. I’m tremendously thankful for the people who study and speak into our lives. I’m surrounded by my amazing Proverbs 31 sisters, and I learn from them every day through the Encouragement for Today devotions and the First 5 App. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Years in Bible studies by my heroes of the faith have taught me to love the Lord more deeply and to have a passion for scripture.

But here’s the truth. In those years I leaned on others to interact with God for me, I believed that God’s voice was important to me. After spending time personally interacting with Him, His voice is essential and sufficient for me. The other teaching? That’s icing on the cake!

Maybe you’re wondering how interaction with God happens, so I want to challenge you as well as myself this week with 2 steps:

  • Before we read our Bibles, let’s ask God to speak to us through His Word. Let’s invite Him to make it living and active in our lives. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to fulfill His promise that He is there to teach us all things and to remind us what Jesus has said to us. (John 14:26) I love it what scripture jumps off the page to me and is living and active!
  • Let’s commit to some silence in our quiet times with God. This is so hard for me because I have a seemingly unending stream of things to say! But I want to give time to God for Him to speak to me in His still, small voice. Time for Him to speak directly into my life and circumstances. Time for my Father to weigh in so that I can respond.

Are you with me? I’d love to hear about how you interact directly with God!


If you’re doing Breaking Up with Perfect with your small group, I have a gift for you that’s available through February 6! Click here to download the Leader’s Guide, and watch the video below “Teaching Tips for Teacher’s–Week 1” (If you’re a subscriber, click here to watch the video.)

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  1. Amy, what a great illustration of how we are made for relationships and how that includes our relationship with God. Loved this post! When people have told me they get more out of hearing what I got out of the Scriptures, I say that’s like listening to me describe what I had for supper. I hope it will make you want to enjoy your own meal. There is no substitute for one on one time with Jesus.

  2. Hi Amy…..the last few weeks I too have been have similar thoughts that you have regarding asking the Lord to speak to me from His Word, and being quiet to hear His still small voice….my challenge is that my mind seems to automatically start thinking other thoughts when I try to be quiet…when that happens I have started to say, “Praise you Lord and thank you Lord” and then get quiet again…I am an older single girl and I truly want to fulfill the Lords endtime plan for my life and nobody elses…most of my life He has been bringing very needy ladies into my life and I also love babies and children….please pray and share this request with your ladies for me if you would….it means so much……..God bless you and all of your Proverbs 31 ladies for His glory……your sister in Christ….Debbie

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Debbie, thank you so much for sharing! I love that you have a strategy for battling distracting thoughts. I’m going to give that a try, because I struggle to quiet my overactive mind too. Blessings to you as you pour your life out for others!