This was shared during the commencement exercises at on of our local schools. One of the members of my church thought that I would appreciate it. I did and I hope you do as well.
We All Have Growing Pains
I remember waking up in the middle of the night with a pain shooting up both of my shins. I thought someone had come into my room and had hit me as hard as they could. It was as if a vice had been place across my shins and where being tightened and then loosened over and over again. I had never felt pain like that in my life. Now, I was about twelve, so I did not have a lot of other moments to compare it too. The next morning, I told my mom what happened and she told me that it was a normal part of getting bigger. They were just “growing pains.”
Well, it has been a long time since I had physical growing pains, but the experience has not changed as I have gotten older. The growing pains that I go through now, however, are spiritual, personal and emotional rather than physical. I am constantly learning new things about myself and others. Some of them are better than others. Some of them, I wish I never had to go through, but I would not change it even when it was my fault.
Growing pains are not meant to be fun, but they are necessary. They are a sign that you are alive and that you are not perfect. Both of these are good things. The challenge is to be an active participant in the process. We have to accept the pains as a reality we have to learn to deal with because there will never be just one. And because of that we may lean in the direction of quitting or giving up rather than fighting through.
My pastor told me as I sat across from him in his office during my annual staff review, “We all have growing edges.” A growing edge is that place where you have to improve, get better. We all have them. We do not always see them. That is why we need someone to remind us of where we need to grow. The same is true in the church. As a whole we all have to grow together, together. This is what makes a church’s growing pains difficult. They are difficult because they involve more than one person. And all of these people may not always be on the same page.
Over the next several weeks we will look at seven growing pains. Each of these areas are important because they are the visible realities of our faith expression. At any given time any person that is not a Christian, not a part of the body of Christ will come in contact with a believer who may be (should be?) engaging in one of these activities. It is at these times that we discover where we are and whether or not we are moving towards where we need to be.
My mom’s explanation helped be to understand what I was going through. My hope is that over the next few weeks we will see the purpose of these pains and find a way to endure and grow to see the benefits of what is happening even when we don’t always enjoy it.