And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.– Anais Nin
My three year old son recently mastered pulling his underwear up all by himself after using the restroom. It was an exciting day in our house as he proudly demonstrated, for everyone who would let him, how he could get a pair of underwear on. When it came time to show his big sister he was beaming with pride as he said, “Sissy, I’m growing. I’m a big boy!” She rolled her eyes and responded, “no, you’re not growing because then you’d be in pain. Growing hurts.”
I thought about that as I finished making and cleaning up lunch. Such profound words from such a little girl. Now in her case she was certainly talking about the pains she feels when she’s physically growing. She often would stretch out her arm and asked if it looked longer when she felt the growing pains of childhood. But was she wrong about other growth?
Growing a human is painful (I’ve done it more than a couple times). Watching my babies grow can be painful on my mama heart. Growing my business has been a different kind of painful. Growing stronger through running and exercise has definitely come with it’s own pain and discomfort. So maybe growing is painful. But so is standing still.
I moved across the country from the comforts of home to a place that is famous for the food I dislike the most and is summer year round (guess what my least favorite season is?), that was painful. However, it was growth of tremendous leaps and bounds for our family. Staying put would have been financially painful. Staying put would have put different stress on our family. So while I struggle with our current location, it was a growth we needed.
Getting healthy and back into shape was painful! Pushing myself to run when I didn’t want to, to keep going when I wanted to quit, to turn down cheesecake (ouch!) – it all hurt in it’s own way. It was mentally painful to grow into a stronger person. But what if I hadn’t chosen to grow strong? I would have continued down a lazy path that would have physically hurt my body in ways I don’t even want to imagine.
So maybe my five year old is wise beyond her years. Growing is painful. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. The journey may be painful but it’s so worth it. This journey south gave my family opportunities we simply would not have had back home. It gave us time together and vacations we wouldn’t have taken. It gave us a chance to grow as a family, take road trips, and meet some amazing people. That pain was worth it. So what growth are you avoiding? What aren’t you doing because you’re afraid of the pain?
I know I’ve avoided “growing pains” but the desire to grow hasn’t gone away. I’ve just been suffering through standing still, still afraid to grow. No more. It’s time to go. Time to grow. Embrace the pain. 5-4-3-2-1, move!