There is an ebb and flow to growth – a time of intense forward movement and a time of rest and recovery. And growth is sustainable as we freely cycle between these phases of intentional action and purposeful rest.

Active Cycle

During the active part of growth we intentionally seek to level up. Perhaps we take a class, learn a skill, or simply attempt to put something into practice.

This phase is similar to going to the gym or out for a run – we are actively engaged in bettering ourselves.

In marriage, for example, this might be practicing our communication skills or learning and applying each other’s love languages. Whatever the case, we are clearly putting in our sweat equity.

And on a personal level, this might entail doing our own inner work – digging into our heart motivations, what makes us tick, and how to show up with the best version of ourselves.

Rest Cycle

On the rest cycle we enjoy the gains we have already made. This is not a passive complacency, but rather an intentional choosing to accept and yield to what has already been accomplished.

This is similar to our “rest days” from working out.

There is a time to just enjoy our marriage – with no compulsion to do more or actively seek to improve. This is not giving up or regressing in the relationship, but simply allowing ourselves to fully rest in the hard work already accomplished.

Likewise, there is a time to take a break from self-improvement – to put down the books and turn off the podcasts and simply be who we are.

We burnout if we stay constantly on the active cycle. A season of rest allows us to recover and fully reengage when it’s time to be active again.

And we become stagnant if we stay on the rest cycle. The active cycle keeps us moving forward toward God’s best for us.

Allow yourself to freely flow between the active and rest cycles of growth. Our vitality depends on both.

Photo by Eduardo Flores on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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