Growing Pains

A sixth grader told me today that he does not have time to do anything fun anymore.

Sixth grade.

I wanted to lecture him on how life will get a lot harder and if he is overwhelmed now, well he has a lot to learn…

But then God showed me that this was his reality, He was overwhelmed with the simplest of tasks, It was silly but how often do we do this with our lives.

When I was five, I remember being overwhelmed when my favorite TV program wouldn’t come on. In high School, I felt anxiety if I did not fit in and in college having to work and go to school I thought was unbearable.

I now realize that my life was simple in those times and I did not even realize it, my perception was off. I know that the struggles I went through as a child grew me to be able to handle the complexities as an adult.

If I did not learn that that I don’t always get my way, I would be spoiled.

If I did not learn that I don’t need to fit in, I would never know my value.

And if I were not stretched in school, I would never know what it means to work hard and be a man.

I am realizing that life is a series of moments that are challenging, and you look to the next moment to be easier, but it is usually harder. When God knows that we are ready for the next level he will push us and grow us to that next level. Does a weightlifter stop when he reaches half his goal? No.

God sees us as finished, complete, and ready for the fullness of our ministry, but we are not there yet, so we must grow.

Let us be encouraged to push against opposition, lift our weight, and never admit defeat. Let us realize that we have the ability to win. Growing is painful and uncomfortable, but the outcome is worth it. Even if our life seems unbearable, overwhelming, let us trust that God is bigger and that victory is just around the corner.

Comments

  1. Sara says:

    I definitely think that God can direct our paths in either very obvious ways or sometimes not so obvious ways. I also really believe that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us through life but ultimately its the choices we make the the choices that others make that get us from point A to point B. I don’t feel like God “makes us go through hard times” to get us stronger but he lets us go through them because he knows as humans on this earth we need challenges to help us grow. That he also gave us the power of choice and free will, this allows us to choose to follow him or not. For some the challenges may be really small but for others they may be huge, but all I know for certain is that God loves us regardless of our choices, even if we “fall off the path” he has laid out for us, he has un ending love that we can’t make go away by choices we make. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world but we can make choices everyday that helps us grow closer to him. I don’t know if that makes any sense or if its just a ramble, but there is my thoughts.

  2. Mary says:

    Warning: This post was written out rather quickly and was not proof read. It is a collection of my own disjointed thoughts. Love you.

    Jess! I totally understand what you’re saying. I understand that life is really difficult. I feel like as we get older the challenges are new and infinitely larger and harder and it feels like you’re climbing this huge mountain that never ends. I believe though that there comes a point in your life, later in life, where you start to make the downhill descent. The challenges you face get smaller and smaller and easier and easier. Perhaps one is just growing in wisdom….I don’t know. When I feel like I’m being overwhelmed or the waves are crashing over my head and I can’t get a breath of fresh air in otherwise, I carve out some time to spend with God specifically to look at my blessings and everything He’s given me. I know that with some of the horrible stuff that’s been happening lately it’s really easy to get blind sided by those but you have to focus on the good in your life. Me, for instance. 🙂 I know that we but heads sometimes, especially when I’m particularly hormonal, but we still stick it out and show grace and forgiveness. I love you tons Jess Rivas (I inserted your name in there for emphasis). You are by far the best guy friend that I have and I wouldn’t replace you with anyone. I think that you’re in a rut and I’m glad that you’ve realized that because there is always a way to get out of a rut, it may be hard and slightly painful and you may fall and skin your knee but it’s possible.

    When I read your post, I was reminded of Job. He lost everything and yet his heart stayed with the Lord. He relied fully upon God. Again I’m reminded of Job in the sense that no one can replace the wisdom and comfort that you get from the Lord, even the best meaning friends can lead you astray, like Job’s did. I say that more in reference to myself, i.e. take what I say with a grain of salt…because I am most definitely not the most wise person nor do I say the most encouraging things. So please just know that I love you.

    Also one last verse, Isaiah 43:1-4

    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
    3 For I am the LORD your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
    I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
    4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you

    God brings us to the water, to the fire, to the storm, and He walks with as we walk through the obstacle, He never leaves us there. The verse doesn’t say we’ll be burnt up by the fire, swept away by the river, or drown in the water. God always brings us through.

  3. Autumn says:

    I was very encouraged by your post. Not just because I’m happy for your ‘aha’ moment but it encourages me in my own overwhelmedness today. Thanks for what you had to say.
    My only input is that I think you arrived at the wrong concluding statement at the end. You said, I’m beginning to think that pain is good. I would put it differently; “I’m beginning to think that God is good. He is always going to be bigger than any thing I am facing”.

    Just my .02 🙂

  4. callie says:

    Hey Jess. Speaking from personal experience I will say that pain is definately a GOOD teacher. And I don’t mean ‘good’ in the sense that it is your favorite teacher and you just can’t wait for their class. I mean good in the sense that it is the teacher whose class totally sucks, but dangit, you can still recite everything they made you learn! I strongly believe God allows pain and difficulties to happen to teach us and so that we don’t forget.

    I also think though that there is another angle with which to look at pain. What if God uses our pain, and more specifically how we handle the pain, to teach others and to draw other people to Him? Maybe this time in your life is speaking to others and showing them how God can heal and help during lifes ‘crappy times’. I don’t know, but sometimes it helps to take the focus off of what we are feeling and focus on how God might use this to benefit others.
    Also, I miss living close to you and having these kinda talks face to face, while driving to whatever confrence we were late for/leaving early from!!

  5. Your words and insights are wonderful. Mary, sometimes we do feel like Job but everyone goes through hard times. It is good to remember that God is a God of restoring, and he restores double. Like you said Autumn and Callie, Pain is not good, but the outcome is good. God is good. and like Sara said, we can make choices to get closer to him daily.