It hurts so good!
Have you ever heard the expression?
In my last blog we saw that reaction or behaviour is less dependent on the events that occur but more about our perspective of the event or our mindset. Our reaction to a situation often depends on the level of pain it is being stirred by. But is pain always bad?
Pain can be described as an unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. I remember hearing my son moaning in the middle of the night due to the pain he was experiencing in his legs, an uncomfortable soreness located in his calves and thighs. It was growing pains. His eight year old muscles were stretching to accommodate his lengthening bones. As much as I wanted to stop my son’s suffering, I understood that his pain was a sign of growth.
Here’s another example. When I exercise after a long “gym sabbatical,” I wake up the next morning with a definite soreness in muscles I didn't even know existed. This pain is due to the muscle fibres that rip, and then rebuild themselves to create stronger tissues. It’s a pain that leads to growth.
In the same way, every time we try to bring significant changes in our lives, we experience growing pains. Think about it: how many skills will you have to develop in order to get traction and see your vision come true? Going back to school or learning a new language? Interviewing for a new job or dealing with a difficult person? Caring for a new baby or retiring from a job? All changes require growing pain. The key is to embrace it as part of life, not to run from it or seek to avoid it. C.S Lewis once said : “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” If you are not experiencing any level of discomfort right now in your life, it is because you are not growing, dare I say that part of you may be dying. Maybe your capacity to dream has been scared by serial disappointments and rejection. Maybe the idea of growth pain keeps your captive in a sea of lies and overwhelming fears. Every “what if” turns into the worst case scenarios instead of being stirred up by hope and the promises of God over your life.
There is no changing the future without disturbing the present.
Embracing growing pains busts this false thought: It should be easy…
If we love each other, it should be easy.
If I was really talented and called, it should be easy.
If I do this well, the rest should be easy.
Most important and meaningful things in life are not easy. The million dollar question is: does the potential benefit of your vision coming true justify the growing pain?
The clearer your vision is, the more willing you are able to embrace the discomfort and keep moving towards your dream. My son’s growth pain is part of him growing from a boy to a man.
His muscles stretch to follow the growth of his bones. In the same way, to become who God is calling us to be and do the things he is calling us to do, we have to embrace discomfort.
What muscles is the Lord asking you to exercise, pressing through growth pains?
Sharing your faith?
Speaking in public?
Engaging the homeless?
Learning a new skill?
In the past two years, I have been developing my coaching practice. The coaching itself came naturally to me but I had to learn to create and manage my website, write blogs, promote my services, and simply put myself out there. This caused me a tremendous amount of growth pains that often left me discouraged and exhausted. At times I felt that I was spending most of my time doing things that I am not good at. But little by little, my skill muscles grew to the point that what brought me so much agony is now easy. Embracing growth pain allowed me experience today the breakthrough I was longing for. It is the mindset upgrade I needed to make my dream come true.
How about you? How the pain you experienced this year helped you become the person you are today?
My prayer is that as you lean into the things that bring you discomfort in your life but that are essential to your growth in becoming all that God created you to be. By doing so, you will choose to embrace the pain and declare just like an athlete recovering from a good yet challenging training:
It hurts so good.