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Growth Pains

Hello Friend!

Let us continue from where we left off last week. For those who missed the last two messages, you can find them here.

Last week, I shared that the most important place for transformation to begin is spiritual growth. I shared with you that deep, lasting spiritual change is a process that rarely happens overnight. This process involves training, testing, and time. I went further to state that to begin on the journey of spiritual growth, you must be sure that you are prepared to pay the price. I listed 5 reasons why this is:

1. Spiritual growth requires desire;
2. Spiritual growth flows from a relationship with Jesus Christ;
3. Spiritual growth requires discipline;
4. Spiritual growth is brought about by the Holy Spirit; and
5. Spiritual growth is possible and assured.

 

Why did I say that one must be sure that you are ready to embark on this journey? The reason is that many of us are averse to pain and discomfort of any kind. Our society is self-absorbed with its own feelings. Many of us take pride in seeing ourselves as victims and demand special tolerance, favors, and gifts. We too often give in to our hurts and setbacks and expect someone to baby us or rescue us. We have our hands out far too often. We want to just breeze through life and pray that Jesus will come and move us to the place we want/desire to be. Paul said it very well when he stated that we must strive to make our calling and election sure. The word strive here tells it all. This means that we must make all effort with diligence and hard work to ensure that we grow. This, for sure, will involve pain, a lot of it.

If you want to know and confirm if growth is indeed taking place within you, there will be the arising of pain and discomfort. There’s this very juvenile thought that spiritual growth brings with it the end of all difficulty in life. That having a relationship with Jesus is the end. This is a lie! It doesn’t. It brings with it the opportunity to be released from ego suffering (pride), selfishness, control, guilt, fear, and the list goes on; which is very different.

When the process of spiritual growth begins, the ego begins to suffer. It begins to fight for its position. It does not want to be tamed and therefore it fights you. My friends, this thing called ego causes suffering because of its many beliefs and preferences. Since life will never comply with all of our demands, the ego causes us to endlessly suffer.

For many people, spiritual growth brings immense bliss and enjoyment…at first. It’s like floating in this other world that you never knew could exist. You see the reality of life. You see the beauty in life. You may see the beauty in suffering as well as in pleasure, and you understand these truths. However, as these truths descend deeper into you, they most often hit resistance. The ego finds something, a truth it doesn’t like, and so it resists. The ego itself is also illuminated. The ego never wants to be found out for what it truly is and therefore it resists. The moment you resist this light, the change and love, the bliss state begins to fade. Spiritual growth shines a light on the ego and its selfishness and reveals the truth. This illumination shows you the trash and debris with which you’ve filled your life with. This illumination is not nice and it leaves you feeling naked and you want it to stop. This light shines so bright and the dark areas which you have chosen to let lie are all of a sudden in your face and you hate it. You want to run, but there is nowhere to hide. You want to deny the truth that has been revealed about you that you know in your heart of hearts, is truth. Friend, this is not the time to run. STAY! This fire, in due season, will purify you and bring intense clarity, presence, and groundedness to your life.

We love to blame things, situations, and other people for all that’s going wrong in our lives, and so when something painful comes we look for someone or something to blame for this. It was all fun and games until you had to go a little deeper and get more serious. Suddenly, the light switch that went off in your inner world is showing you the leaking sewage in your basement, but you didn’t want to see that. You just wanted to feel good all the time and focus on the beautiful things in your inner living room. You will try hard to forget about this spiritual path and confess that it is leading nowhere. You run to a Coach, Pastor, Teacher, Therapist, retreat center, meditation group, commune, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, or something else to try to make yourself feel better. You may constantly do kind acts for others thinking that they can overcompensate for a “negative” issue or something. But still, the sewage leak continues in the basement until it is DIRECTLY addressed. This metaphor can represent a fear of being alone, fear of following your heart, anger at a past lover, family abuse, and so many more things that I won’t even attempt to continue this list. All these past issues, which you have constantly refused to address, come flooding back. Unlike what you thought, it doesn’t go away until it is faced, and your soul knows this. With the support of the light that has been shone within you, now you’re being thrust into facing all of it. But it is too painful.

Part of what makes the time during spiritual growth so painful is your reaction. The more fearful your reaction, the more pain you are likely to experience. Are you brave enough to be vulnerable and surrender the pain to Jesus? Are you vulnerable enough to say, enough is enough and I will go through this, no matter the cost! Unfortunately, our natural instinct is to try to fix the pain, to control it, or even, foolishly, to try to understand it. The ego insists on understanding. The more you try to understand it, the worse it gets.

So what do I do Njeri, you may ask? At this time, I beseech you are called to seek God and hold on to our faith not trying to solve anything. As hard as this may be for you to hear, you need to surrender it all and count this experience all joy because with it comes growth unmistakeable, healing undeniable and peace, unexplainable. Faith is the ability to stand in liminal space, to stand on the threshold, to hold the contraries until we are moved by grace to a much deeper level where our private pain is not center stage. Remember, your pain is not just our own.

My friend, you have one of two choices;

First, to find comfort in our emotional state, accept it as a bandage, afraid to peel it back and apply healing ointment to the wound. You can choose to cling to your emotions because they provide special “handicap” privileges, and then use this pain to justify what you believe, say or do. In this case, you will have accepted the pain and protected it. Don’t say you were not warned as this is a demonic delusion that only perpetuates immaturity and denies the transformational power of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness.

Second, is to accept that pain was designed to teach, transform and mature you, not box you into the darkness. Remember, as human beings, our greatest lessons in life are learned by the things we suffer. You will suffer and your pain will be your teacher. Remember, Christ learned by the things He suffered. His pain was His teacher.

In closing my friends, the sad reality is that a mind that focuses on pain will most often speak pain, and, if left unchecked, will drive others away. Sharing a painful experience with a trusted friend is empowering and emotionally bonding, but continually sharing it with anyone who will listen deludes you into thinking that it is good for you when it is actually a kind of psychosis.

Preoccupation with spiritual growth pain denies the presence of the power of Jesus Christ in your life. It produces no peace or love or joy. It is a faith killer. Feel it, experience it and embrace it for all its worth.

Join us again next week as we continue with this series on transformation.

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Till next time, take care, be safe and God grant you grace that you may hear His voice.

Njeri MuchunuGrowth Pains
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