The Value of Painful Growth

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns,

safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in,

and relationships that have lost their meaning.”

~John Maxwell

Join us May 12th, 7:30 PM (PST)

            Growth defined by the dictionary is a process of developing either physically, mentally or spiritually or all of these elements. Growth helps us define our maturity by growing the necessary and eliminating the unnecessary. Growth often is disguised by pain, frustration, and loss. Sometimes we need to go through loss to value what we have. And pain often pushes us out of our comfort zones into a new world better and wiser than we knew before.

            Nothing happens when we remain in our comfort zone. A body builder can not lift the same amount of weight and expect to grow muscle. They must lift beyond their comfort level in order to tear down or injure a muscle in order to repair it and become stronger. And so it goes with our hearts and souls.

We may experience growth at the hands of someone we thought was an advocate or friend. Honestly pain can just suck. Try not to react immediately. Take a moment to be aware of the situation, perhaps the other person’s perspective. We all have a story, and it may be their past that’s causing them to hurt you. If they’ve hurt you unintentionally, then get to forgiving them quickly and move on. If the hurt was intentional, it might be best to let the relationship move to a further distance in your life. Either way, forgive them. Forgiveness releases that person’s control over your life and allows you to handle the situation with more grace. I’ve often prayed, “Lord, help me to see them the way you see them.” And when I pray for someone, it’s tough to continue being upset at them.

I hate that the very lessons that make us wise are so uncomfortable and close to the heart. I remember when my best friend died…,I was 26, she was 30,…it hurt so badly that I swore I’d never have another BFF and in my immature thinking I thought I’d avoid any pain. I helped raise her two children and when her daughter was killed by a drunk driver coming home from work, I double swore I was never going to get close to anyone again to protect my heart. Little did I know that those painful events dug a trench in my heart that allowed me to love deeper than I ever had before. It also taught me to live each day as if I didn’t have tomorrow. Often times, the very thing that causes pain instead builds wisdom in unexpected ways for future areas of service.

When God calls warriors to the front lines, there is extensive training that goes with it and most of that training either grows us up or pushing us out of our comfort zones. God has a plan, but He can’t heal a pain we won’t give to Him. One way to deal with our hurt is to imagine carrying all that pain and laying it at the feet of Christ. He welcomes our desire for Him to restore our hearts and to handle our problems for us.

What’s next? Lick your wounds. Lean into the lessons. The faster the better! Head up–wings out! And watch what God can do with your life.

“You’ll never be able to grow if you’re afraid to lose people during the process. Sometimes past relationships don’t belong in new seasons.”

~Trent Trenton

Pick Up Your Sword:

  1. Praise to the God of all comfort: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

What does this verse say to you about turning over our cares? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in His way.

~ Psalm 37:23

Your thoughts: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Steps for moving forward through the pain:
    • Observe or recognize –was the offense intentional or a misunderstanding. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Remember that people who hurt people are hurting. Trust your heart when it tells you what happened. Determine you will respond rather than react.
  • Don’t defend yourself. Asking questions is always better than accusing the offending person. Avoid insisting on being right or to defend yourself. Consider how you may have contributed to the situation. Seek to clarify the conflict with the goal of resolving.  
  • Remind yourself that building bridges is to your advantage. Keep your personal boundaries, but always seek to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Where you can, extend kindness. You don’t have to be a bashing post for the other person, but you do need to step back from being negative. Do your best to resolve what you can.
  • Walk away, pray, do positive self-care. Lick your wounds, sleep on it and move on.

What’s your plan for resolving conflict that hurts? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________