Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Growing Pains

I remember when I was a teenager and my body was growing so fast that my bones ached. I remember I would cry at night to my mother telling her how much it hurt. "It's growing pains," she would tell me. I never understood why it hurt so much to grow.

Well now I am an adult and I am not getting taller anymore, but I am growing still. The growth I have is the same as all adults, it is internal. This pain hurts too. Some growth hurts more than others, it depends on the nature of the growth and how deeply it is ingrained into your life.

Maybe you decide you want to eat healthier; to stop drinking soda, start cooking homemade food, eating out less, more fruits and vegetables. That can be difficult, especially if you have a big junk food habit. Or maybe you want to be more financially responsible. It takes discipline to follow a budget and make the right financial choices. Those are both difficult things to do and it takes some pain involved with the learning process.

The most painful, however, is when it is something that is woven into your character for years that you have lived with and developed over the majority of your life. That is the most difficult and painful kind of growing pains. That is especially true if it is not your decision to change, but when you have been disciplined by God about that character flaw. When God has to "break us" to show us our sin, to show us how prideful we have been in our own strength, that is REAL growing pains. Those are growing pains that may last for days.

I have found that along with the pain comes a beautiful healing power. The grace that can wash over us after we have been broken is sweet and refreshing. It is redeeming and better than any spa treatment known to man. I have found out something about myself, in this as well. I have never had an easy time fasting- it seems the days that I decide to do it I become extra hungry. But when I am in the grace and going through the brokenness of the growing pains I find that fasting comes naturally. I find my body unable to eat because I am so meditative in prayer. That, for me has been such a beautiful place to understand fasting. I know so many people that can summon that ability easily. I am not one of those people. But I am so appreciative of what I have experienced in the growing pains.

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