When I was a boy, I remember waking up at night with the most unbearable pain in my legs, especially in the knee area. I would cry and had a difficult time falling back to sleep. My mom would come into the room and rub my knee until I finally dosed back off and as she would sooth me I remember her saying, “It’ll be alright, it’s just growing pains.”
Well over the years, I have grown in a number of ways. From physical to emotional to spiritual, I have come to one conclusion, whenever there is growth, there is pain. It’s not always overwhelming, unbearable pain that wakes us in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s a dull ache. Regardless, growth is accompanied with pain.
The problem is we as human beings do everything within our power to avoid pain. The slightest discomfort sends most people seeking an easy fix. Stop by your local pharmacy and look at the number of over the counter medications designed to give temporary relief to our pain. What happens when the numbness wears off? We realize the pain was there all along, we’ve just been masking the symptoms. The only way to truly overcome the pain is to attack the problem.
So why don’t we want to do what’s necessary to strengthen ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually? Because to do so means we have to take a hard look at ourselves and ask some tough questions. Those questions hurt. It’s easier to lie to ourselves and to others but the problem with that is we are only fooling ourselves. It’s far better to deal with the hurt directly and find whatever is necessary to come to a place of healing. True healing doesn’t come from a pill. It comes from answering hard questions and, many times, making changes to ourselves that in the beginning seem harder than the pain that lead to us making the change. In the long run, it’s worth it to “beat ourselves into submission.”
Pain is not a bad thing. Whether emotional or physical, it’s intention is to let us know something is wrong. The hardest part is acknowledging that there is something in ourselves that needs to change. We would rather lie to ourselves than deal with our issues. It’s easier to blame others than to accept responsibility for our situation. Pain is the first clue. When we feel it, we should recognize it as a warning that something needs to be done. We can’t cover up the pain and just hope it goes away. Physical pain requires time to heal and often physical exertion to strengthen the affected area. Emotional or mental pain is much the same. We’d rather hide from reality than face facts. In the end, we either change or we drown in our hurt.
Examine yourself and be honest. Are there things you need to change but haven’t because it’s too hard to face the truth? Over the past week, I have been asking people to share with me the three things they like most and the three things they like least about me. It’s a hard thing to do. Some of the responses sting, but I want to grow in a healthy way, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In order to grow, I have to be willing to look deep within myself and face my weaknesses. I have to strengthen those areas to continue growing or something I thought was no big deal could stunt my growth entirely. Sometimes we just need to shine the light on areas where we are weak in order to find strength. At other times, we need to surround ourselves with people who can help us be accountable (not to them, to ourselves).
Yes, growth is painful, but it is necessary to become what we are meant to be. There are people who need you, who need me, to be the best we possibly can and the only way we can do that is by paying the price required. We must count the cost. A wise man once said, “I will give nothing that costs me nothing.” What price are you willing to pay? Will you choose comfort or will you choose to make the necessary changes so you can reach your potential? You have so much value so don’t sell yourself short. In spite of the pain, do whatever it takes to become the person you were destined to be but don’t be surprised when you discover that things you’ve held on to for years may be the very things you need to set aside in order to go to the next level!