Sitting at a family dinner this past Holiday season I was struck by a conversation centered on growing pains. At the table was a 6 month old baby girl, and her mother mentioned to the group that her first teeth growing in and how she was teething and in pain. Then the conversation turned to a 60 year old having pain in her feet as she did simple things like cleaning and laundry. Then my cousin mentioned when he was 10 or 11 how much pain he was in for a couple of years, simply growing! Growth spurts do that to tall people.
I’m only 5’1″ and except for 1 or 2 achy nights in 5th grade, I didn’t have many growing pains as a young girl. At least not physically.
Emotionally and spiritually is another story.
This past New Year’s I got pretty, pretty happy. So happy that I don’t remember falling to my knees a couple of times throughout the night. Club and street- if I were sober I would have gawked at the drunken girl with a pink flower in her hair, unable to stand in her high heels or walk straight.
My soreness the next morning prompted my question to my friend, “Alison, did I fall last night??”
“Yeah. You did. A bunch of times,” was her simple reply.
Pain. Pain in my body, but mostly pain in my heart for being that reckless and careless to my limits with drinking and numbing out the other pain that got me to that point. Anesthetizing my heart with too many glasses of wine and mixed drinks, all the while dancing to loud music, and picking up random guys, points to more than just a cray cray New Years.
“What’s wrong with me?!” I’ve asked myself a few times this week as more bruises showed up on my knees, legs, and a distinct hand print from a man that left purple marks on my forearm as whoever he was picked me up.
Growing up isn’t easy. It’s painful. From little baby teeth, to achy joints just from growing, to aging bodies that we hear about from our elders.
But the pain that’s not so easy to see… that we hide away with a smile, or stare blankly at the wall depressed, that keeps us up at night in worry, that makes our hearts ache, that makes us cry silently in the shower so no one else will hear… it’s those pains that I’ve almost gotten used to throughout my middle school to post college years.
It’s those pains that I want the most freedom from.
It’s those pains that I want to escape.
And I KNOW, without a doubt… I’ve learned the lesson enough times… I can’t just numb those pains with a bottle, fake laugh, and kiss from a stranger in the night. It doesn’t work.
No, no. These pains need something, Someone much stronger and more powerful than too many drinks and stranger’s lips.
The reality is after a night like New Years, I realize how desperate I really am for an answer to my aches and pains. Heartache and growing pain. It’s not easy, but there is a way to heal…
I think like losing weight, or training for a triathlon, or working up in a career, all of which are slow, daily processes… the growing pains of the heart and spirit can be healed, but it looks like a slow process of turning to God, giving up the crap instead of just “dealing with it”, and being okay with good days and bad days. It’s a battle and a marathon, not a walk in the park.
Healing, freedom, and escape come through the Man who gave His life on a jagged cross, and then rose 3 days later for me and for you.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
That’s Jesus talking. That He came to give life ABUNDANTLY. I know the destruction substances can cause. I’ve experienced that from the thief. But I feel like it has been a while that I’ve experienced an abundant life through Him… almost like I don’t deserve it.
I have about six New Year Resolutions for 2017 (in 2016 I didn’t make any), but my main resolution is to let Jesus have more of my heart. To trust Him like I used to when I was a little girl. To let Him take the growing pains and make them something beautiful. To discover with Him this abundant life that He came to bring. That I’m worth it to Him.
And though like training for a triathlon or getting ahead in a career, the process of letting Jesus take control of my growing pains might seem slow some days… we will make it together. And that will be a beautiful thing.
To an abundant life in Him.