Kids are always growing. It seems you blink and they have sprouted up another inch or two. Working in children’s ministries, I have seen many kids go from being shorter than me to being taller than me (which isn’t too hard to since I’m only 5’3). There is an awkwardness that comes with these growth spurts. Things don’t fit quiet right – pant legs are now too short and shoes are a little too small. Kids need a lot of nutrition during this time as they form their grown-up frames. Along with this spurt of growth come the dreaded growing pains. It takes a lot of effort to grow and it can leave you feel achy in places that are being stretched.
I may have no hope of getting taller while on this planet. I’m sure my growth spurts have past and I’m stuck at the height I am now. However, I am in a constant state of growth in my relationship with the Lord. In terms of faith, I am a child of God (Galatians 3:26 – “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”). Notice the word child. I am not a grown up yet and probably won’t be on this side of heaven. I’ll be in a constant state of growth. This means – growing pains! The tension and the pulling of new life situations is shaping me more and more into the person that God wants me to be.
Recently, I have felt that I am in a growth spurt. This makes life a little awkward because things aren’t fitting as well as they used to. Just like a kid outgrowing a pair of shoes, once you’ve moved up shoe sizes the smaller shoes are no longer an option. The awkwardness isn’t as bad as the ache that comes from new growth. Growing is tiring and it hurts. These growth spurts determine how I am growing up in my faith. Each decision is a chance to grow closer to Christ and take on more of His image. Just like the nutrition children need, spiritual nutrition is so important to a growing Christ follower. I am more apt to respond appropriately to life when I have been meditating on the Word of God. The more of the Word I can feed myself, the stronger I will be in these challenging situations.
Growing might not be fun in the moment, but once the effort has been put forth, it is worth it. Kids are so proud of themselves when they are taller than when you last measured them. They can sense they are maturing and they know they are on their way to becoming who they are meant to be. Just like a child, I need to be excited about my growth and not view it as a negative thing. The pains and distractions of growing pains can take my eyes off the fact that God is doing this for my good. There is a reason for the situations I have walked through and they are preparing me and maturing me.
Life isn’t as simple as I once thought it would be. I believed that if you didn’t go looking for drama or hard situations then they would stay clear of you. When I evaluate all that is on my plate, I often tell God I didn’t ask for this stuff and I didn’t go looking for it. How did it find me? I’m starting to believe that what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Not all situations in life are grand and glorious. There are a lot of things I would like to edit out of my life. However, these are the situations that will strengthen my faith.
The pain and awkwardness of growth are worth the results. This child of God has had her melt down moments… more like temper tantrums! I want to throw myself down and say I’m done. Fortunately, I have a loving father who doesn’t let me stay where I am at and encourages me to grow beyond the familiar boundaries I know. Life is a continual growth process. Once I master one thing, it seems something else is waiting for me. I continue to trust the Lord has good in mind for me in all circumstances. Even when I cannot see how the growing pains are going to make me stronger, I know that God can see the end result. Daily I must make the choice to grow closer to His image.