Do you ever look back at the various stages of your life with embarrassment? It could be as simple as a ridiculous haircut at thirteen or as serious as a destructive personality trait you’ve grown out of.
We all have them.
For me, I had the “Bama bangs,” as we’ve now coined them. You remember, right? The swoosh and the flip. If you don’t, just trust me, it was pretty bad.
When I look back at photos I’m pretty sure I just reflected whoever my best friend was for the first half of life. Sports phase. Skateboarding phase. Country phase. There might be a photo of me wearing a cowboy hat somewhere, believe it or not.
Yes, we can laugh at the silly trends, but my adult life has required me to do a good bit of internal work, too. I wasn’t always a good friend, boyfriend, son, brother, husband. I’ve been manipulative, judgmental, selfish, and unkind plenty of times.
I believe growing pains don’t just refer to that one year I gained thirty-five pounds and shot up five inches. By the way, I had to throw away a lot of clothes. That Good Will bag looked like someone with dissociative personality disorder cleaned out their closet.
That was okay, though, because it was around that same time music entered my life, and I started to really lean into the fact that I needed to tell my own story, shape my own identity, grow up.
And it’s not just people who have growing pains, either...
Societies, cultures, religions. We’ve come a long way from some of the heinous practices of old. I heard a pastor describe an interesting timeline recently when it comes to Christianity and Islam and the growing pains both have gone through.
He explained Islam is roughly 1,300 years old. What was Christianity doing around age 1,300? We were leading the Crusades and Inquisition. Unfortunately in our case, our violence was from the top down, rather than on the fringes.
Growing pains are pervasive in all aspects of our existence. Change, as I’ve said before and will continue to preach, is absolutely necessary. “What we’ve always done” is not a healthy philosophy.
What can we do to always be growing forward?
Now that is an idea I can get behind. The cost if we don’t is just too high. Growing pains—some cost us our pride, others cost us generations of oppression. Do you know yours?
more thoughts on change: Change is not only inevitable but imperative
Books I recommend: