Do you remember? Do you remember telling your parents about this pain or that hurt and them telling you, “It’s just growing pains.”? This happened to me many times when I was growing up, and recently, my youngest son came to me asking a question…
“What are those silvery marks on your knees?” I told him that they were stretch marks that happened during a summer when my legs shot out from under me and everyone started calling me, “String Bean” and “Daddy Long-legs.” My son then informed me that he now has those same silvery marks on his knees… And yes, he has grown very tall in this, his 13th summer, and he has had many aches and pains along the way.
Growth is not always an easy thing to walk through. It doesn’t always feel like growth. It doesn’t feel like a cut and dry process, tangible and relatable to those around you.
I know a lot of people going through different transitions in life right now. I have so many friends that are moving and relocating to totally different parts of the country to start whole new lives. Some are younger couples or singles and even more are older couples braving a new adventure.
I’ve been watching my oldest daughter and son go through their own growing pains and life transitions. My daughter is moved out, living on her own and transitioning into her 20’s. Facing the realities of bills, personal health and life responsibilities; interviewing for grown up jobs. My son at 18, is in that phase in life of wanting to burst into total freedom but not quite having the wings to fly.
They are all experiencing different pains; from the friends moving away, friends launching new careers to even my own children transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. And I am not without my own pains. I have been transitioning in life as well. I don’t always enjoy the process and many times I have felt like a rag doll going through the wash and spin cycle over…and over…and over.
I had just been focused on the pain. Feeling it, analyzing it, trying to make it go away. But I realized something in my conversation with my youngest over his new stretch marks. He just felt the pain – he didn’t realize that he was growing.
“Often we just feel the pain or discomfort of life and miss the discovery of growth.”
So life may be uncomfortable right now. It may look and feel messy. Maybe you even feel lost and isolated. Or upside down in the spin cycle. But growth is happening. Now, you can help or hinder this process but make no mistake, growth is happening.
At times, I’ve wrestled and complained, argued with God and thought of Him as being silent or absent during this time of transition… I’m reminded of the squirming, squalling child, that in their pain and discomfort of a cut finger or banged up knee; wrestles against their parent as they try to bandage the wound. If they would just be still, we could get the hard part over so much sooner and it would most likely hurt less!
When I stop focusing on the pain, on what’s uncomfortable, what’s unknown..and focus instead, on helping myself grow; well then all of the sudden, I can breathe again. When my head isn’t twisted around looking at the past or turned forward, squinting to see the future, then I become present and I can draw strength from that place.
A growing body needs certain things to help it grow. It needs fuel and it needs rest. This past summer my 13 year old clocked in way more sleeping hours than awake hours! He basically ate, slept and grew – it was phenomenal to watch!
So I fuel my mind and spirit with reading, writing, meditation, prayer. I also fuel it with good conversation and time with friends. Many times, I’ve made the mistake of suffering in silence, not sure how to share my “growing pains”. But we need people in our lives or our growth will be stunted.
I’ve also been learning how to rest. But I don’t mean sleep. I’ve had to create breathing room in my life; take pressure off of myself to be the perfect mom, friend, wife, daughter or Christian. With that weight lifted, I feel free to explore the new things that are developing in my heart and I find that I have more to offer the people that I love than I ever have before…. maybe growing up isn’t so bad after all…
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Was this helpful for you? What types of life transitions have impacted you? What did you learn from them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.