Growth Pangs

Hey guys! How are you doing? I know you may be tempted to immediately answer, “I’m okay, I’m doing well, fine, good, etc.”; but please don’t. I request that you truly ask yourself that question and assess your emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial state. If you’re struggling in an area, then please reach out to friends, family members and safe spaces in your life. Be honest, open, and vulnerable with them to share your struggles, receive advise, pray together, think together and so on, to come up with solutions that will enable you achieve health and wholeness. Please don’t do life alone, don’t allow fear and uncertainty limit your access to solutions and opportunities. God puts us in communities to be blessed and to be a blessing – and that can be expressed in giving/receiving support, strength, insight and learning from each other. Don’t miss out on the gifts around you.

Today, I would like to share about growth pangs. You may be wondering how relevant this is and how it ties to the previous posts this month, both of which have been centered around personal growth and visioning; but please follow me and you’ll see. Interestingly, I didn’t even set out to do a series, but it seems to be flowing. Perhaps, it’s the Lord’s leading (big smile and wink).

I reckon we’re all familiar with the process of birthing a baby and the famed, “birth pangs” or “labour pains” as we call it. You see for a woman who’s nurtured a pregnancy for 36-40 weeks (that is, approximately 77% of a calendar year); no matter how cute her baby bump is, how she adores it, or the glow which pregnancy gives her; when the time to birth that baby comes, birth she must! No ‘babygirlness’ can deliver her from the process of delivery. She can choose to have a vaginal delivery, take an epidural, have a c-section; use a birthing pool, have a birthing partner, go in solo, etc. but that baby must be born. In simple terms, she cannot be pregnant forever. I can tell you for free that no matter how agile you are, between 38-40 weeks in pregnancy, your physical energy would take a significant dip. Even medically, once you’re past 42 weeks, it becomes imperative for both mother and child to conclude the hosting arrangement.

Now, how does this relate to our discussion?

Irrespective of how cute and enjoyable it is, to be nurtured and cared for; there will come a time (if it hasn’t come already); where you must be birthed. That is, a time when you mature – begin to take responsibility for your own life (not that the baby is from birth though). A time when you lead on crafting the narrative for your life.

A time to make decisions based on your convictions and be ready to stand by them irrespective of the “consequences”. There must come a time where you take responsibility for nurturing your faith, your physical and emotional health, your finances, your career trajectory, your familial relationships, etc. You cannot be a baby boy or baby girl forever. It is simply not how God wired us to be! I mean 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside”. From this scripture, there is a time to be a child and a time to put aside childish behaviours and for lack of a better word, “grow up”.

So, what should you expect?

Honestly, I can’t answer this question completely because each person’s process and experience would differ just like the pregnant lady with various options. But one thing I know for sure is that growth and maturity isn’t convenient. It doesn’t happen so daintily like Cinderella putting her foot into a perfect size 5 glass slipper. Nope, they lied. But hey, I don’t think you believed that any way.

Growth pangs are real! They are not something to wish away, deny, make light of, be ashamed of, etc. I would say that they are to be desired, and then explored. Growth pangs could be in the form of discontent at what you’ve done for a while, internal fatigue and lack of motivation, a desire for more, a curiosity that seems almost insatiable, etc. I can’t predict all the forms it could take but these are some I’ve experienced firsthand.

I reckon the next question on your mind is ‘what do I do with them?’

My answer – clarify them. My go-to recommendation for anything I’m uncertain about is to pray and think. In my experience, God has either stirred my heart to gain clarity on the issue and/or sent me knowledge and relationships that have helped clarify these pangs.

Has it paid off?

Absolutely. Everything I am and do today is a function of growth. My faith, marriage, parenting, career, finances, health, relationships, etc. have been enhanced by the knowledge and relationships I’ve exposed myself to. I can say some have come naturally or organically, but all have been intentional. Truth is, you must be at least clear about what you don’t want, and you must learn to courageously explore your pangs within sensible boundaries of course. Then again, knowledge and relationships would help you chart a course and where needful, set realistic boundaries for your exploration efforts.

Let me say this clearly. Growth is not convenient, but it is necessary and rewarding.

Growing will stretch you. In the words of the sage DDK, it is a “creative stretch” that compels you to review your priorities, check alignment with your value system, discard the distractions, focus on the goals and tasks that are most significant to your life, and create new systems and structures where applicable. It will force you to do the deep work required for the life you desire.

While growing, you would need to continually feed yourself. Now, remember MRNIGERD in your basic biology? Respiration and nutrition come right after movement for a reason. In fact, with babies just after birth, movement and respiration are indicators of life and next stop to ensure life is nutrition. You’re advised to nurse your newborn as soon as possible. This also applies on your growth journey. Once you make up your mind to move in an upward direction in whatever area of your life, respiration and nutrition become critical. I like to think of these two as knowledge and relationships. If you’ve read my blog for long enough, you can clearly tell that I’m big on these two.

So, why knowledge and relationships?

Knowledge is critical because, for one, it can help you decipher what your pangs (discomfort) really indicate, so that you’re not mistaking oria-afo (meaning stomach pain in my indigenous Ibo dialect) for pregnancy because a wrong diagnosis may be deadly and humiliating in one fell swoop. That said, knowledge just like a positive pregnancy test; gives you clarity and helps you chart a course for progress.

Now, with relationships on the other hand.  The fond debate about, “who you know or what you know, and which matters more” comes to mind. Honestly, the younger me would very likely have gone with what you know all the way; but now with age and experience, I would tell you for free that both are equally important. Assigning weights to either of these would be tricky because the peculiarity of each situation would differ. But when you match this power combo of knowledge and purposeful relationships, believe me you can accelerate your growth curve in weeks.

In conclusion, don’t dismiss your growth pangs. Explore them, armed with knowledge and purposeful relationships because your dreams are valid.

Never forget; you’re loved, valued and enough!

Love Always, C.I.

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4 Responses

  1. A very key and insightful Post👌. Relationship and Knowledge are very paramount in Growth. Knowledge to be informed of your progressive stages and Relationships to encourage and stire you on the right path.
    Thank you and God bless 🙏. Blessed week ahead 🙏

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