Growing Pains

No, this is not a post about the super great 1980’s TV show starring Kirk Cameron (although I do have Season 1 on DVD–in Milly? Come watch it with me).

But really, what a good show.  Remember when little Leo DiCaprio was on it?

Anyways, this post is not about the show.

It is also not about teenage years–or is it?

You know how when you were a teenager you grew and changed and got all the fuuuun “talks” from every adult in your life?  You know how to add on to all of the awkwardness of those talks you were also socially awkward (most days, I don’t think I’ve outgrown this phase of my life)?  You know how on TOP of all of that you’re body was changing?  Growing pains.  You’re getting taller (sometimes wider) and it hurts.  Physically and mentally.  Mentally because you might be the tall gangly girl that’s taller than all the boys which makes ballroom dancing in P.E. especially uncomfortable (that might have been me…). Physically because you’re growing at an abnormally fast rate.  I had ankle problems because my growth plates were all out of whack. It hurt.  I had to wear a fancy boot.

This is a lot like our growth in Christ. Sometimes it hurts.  We aren’t called to a simple, happy life. We’re called, as Christians, to suffer.  A quote that has stuck with me is “Take the battleship, not the cruise ship.”  Yes friends, Love is a battlefield (what a good song)! But in all reality, they don’t say, “Fight the good fight” for nothing. And by “they” I mean Paul in 1 Timothy 6:12.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…

For this verse, the footnote in my study Bible says that this involves “vigorously pursuing virtue.”  Vigorous is a kind of scary word.  It’s definitely not an easy and comfortable word.

Lately I’ve been feeling these growing pains. And sometimes, it kind of sucks. But I rest in assurance that it is worth it.  It’s been a rough few months.  The Lord has been showing me my sin, showing me where I lack.  Being humbled is no fun but is so necessary, and I am grateful for it.  My journey of faith is changing daily. It excites me.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.  But at the same time, I let me sin get to me.  I get apprehensive.  I get scared that I’m not doing something right. I fear that I am not equipped to be of any use for Kingdom growth.

See a trend?

There are a lot of “I’s” in there.  It’s like in Princess Diaries when Mia realizes how many “stupid times a day [she] say[s] the word I.”  In this growing process the Lord has shown me how many stupid times a day I use the word I. All I need to do is take it all to the cross…give it to Him.

Another uncomfortable thing that can come with growing pains is actually getting what you pray for. An example of this in my life is a broken heart (aaaaand we’re back to middle school again).  If you’ve been to even the most traditional of contemporary services in the past few years, you’ve asked for this, too (whether you paid attention or not is another story).  You’ve sung that catchy Hosanna song by Hillsong United haven’t you?  You know that fun little part at the end?

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to
Eternity

See, I started actually meaning this when I sung it and even started praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His.  Guess what.

He did it.

Things of this world get me down even more than they used to.  I used to see something or hear a story and think, “Hm…that’s sad.”  But now I become completely broken.  I wrestle with different issues and injustices that used to just be a little sad to me.

When I first started experiencing this growth spurt, I thought it was a negative thing.  I only saw the flaws in my past…my shortcomings and things I coulda/shoulda/woulda done differently.  Then God was all like, “Hey kid. You have to start somewhere. Growth means change.”  But still, sometimes it’s hard to realize that I didn’t have it all together, especially when I thought I did.

This past weekend I saw A Beautiful Mind for the first time. First off, how come I have never seen this movie before?!? So great.  One part that really stuck with me was when Nash was talking with his wife and the doctor.  He says that he will fix this problem, that he will figure it out, that he will use his mind…that’s what he does.  The doctor tell him he can’t do that, that his mind is where the problem is.  I feel like this is me. I tend to over analyze everything, to know the ins and outs of all sorts of situations.  I’m a thinker (except when it comes to school =) ).  That’s part of the reason I struggle with my growth–I wonder why I haven’t always known that, felt that, read that, lived that. But it’s okay. You have to start somewhere.  And the wonders of the Lord are countless…there’s no way we could know even close to all of His ways.  Ephesians 6 (and other places in Scripture) talks about the mystery of the Gospel.  Romans 11:33 says,

Oh, the depth of the riches andwisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

It’s okay to not understand everything; we aren’t supposed to.  Now I’m not suggesting not trying to learn about the Lord.  We should just know we could never fully grasp His wonders.  But when we learn something new or grow in our walk, we should not fret. We should rejoice.

Growth hurts…oh can it hurt. But this is part of the growing process…becoming more like Jesus…starting to think like Him….starting to live like Him.

I am a looong way from here, my friends. A loooong way.  But because of all the growing pains going on, I know I am being refined, changing, growing.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

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