Past Pains Future Gains


We need to embrace the tension points in our lives. I've written before about growing up in Church and then discovering that things aren't always as they appeared. It is in these moments of realization that we usually start getting really, really mad. The reason we get mad is because we feel like we've been deceived, like we've been lied to. We start discovering that things weren't always what we thought they were. We learn that there is a lot more humanity going on than we would like to admit, and our temperature starts to rise. You feel deceived, like you've played the fool, but in reality, all you've done is grow up. 

As a kid, I loved Peter Pan. The thought of never growing up and staying a kid forever was appealing because I didn't know any better. Even now as an adult, the escapist thrill of turning back into a child and just playing all day seems amazing! It seems amazing until you realize how much you'd hate it. Being an adult gives you certain freedoms, like the ability to make decisions for yourself, and I am talking about small things, like what you want to eat, or what you want to wear, or even the ability to get in a car and drive. To become a child again you would have to give up certain freedoms. 

Do you remember the first moment that you realized that adults are just teenagers with a higher day count? The moment that you realized that your parents, although incredible, are imperfect? Do you remember the moment when you made an important decision, a responsible decision, and it almost immediately put into context a string of decisions that your parents had made that until that moment, right then, you could not understand. 

This is called growing up

This process of aging is an inevitability, but the process of growing up, or maturing, or whatever you want to call it, is a choice. You are an adult. You are free to do as you wish. You are free to make whatever choices you want. Growing up in terms of our faith and spirituality is the same thing. I remember having a conversation with a senior in a church that I was pastoring, and she was telling me about the great depth of spiritual maturity that she and her circle of friends had. We were having this conversation because she wanted to impose on me her spiritual superiority and coerce me into fitting into her desired mould of such spirituality. All that to say, she wanted to use her supposed superiority to intimidate me so that I would change things according to her preferences. What I realized in that moment was a distinct lack of maturity and understanding, and I recognized right there, that though we age, we don't necessarily grow. 

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
— 1 Corinthians 13.11-12 NLT

This brings us back to our own spiritual awakening. The moments when you start looking 'behind the veil' when you realize that the church is flawed, and pastors are people, meaning, they are flawed, and that things aren't always as they appeared. So you get angry. You get mad. You stomp your foot. You scream. You yell. You tell anybody who will listen. You write letters (or emails or  Facebook posts or you air your grievance on Snapchat - depending on your demographic). You have a meltdown questioning everything, re-evaluating all that you've been taught, and you find yourself alone, with tears in your eyes not certain how you can move forward. This is what it feels like to grow. If you were a small child, we would call it growing pains... this is me giving you a slow clap ....... clap ......... clap ........ clap ........ clap ......... 

Brett Esslinger is a Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor, Speaker, Leader, Writer whose life goal is to help people unlock their potential and fulfill their life's purpose. 

Follow Brett on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @brettesslinger and of course over on Snapchat at: brett.esslinger

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