“Growth is painful. Change is painful. However, nothing is more painful than staying stuck somewhere that you do not belong.” ― Mandy Hale
An awful lot of individuals are scared to grow because of the pain associated with growth. I could take a clichéd look at the life of a caterpillar as it molts into a butterfly, but that story has told so many times that it has lost its effect.
An individual knows when it is time to grow when he/she no longer fits in; you have outgrown your space, so discomfort becomes more real than the breath you breathe.
Your space becomes cramped and painful but most of all you feel fear! You experience the type of scary, exhilarating fear that causes your body to shudder at the very thought of moving from the place that has been home to you for a lifetime. The thing you are used to no longer suits you, but the prospect of risking change is scary.
The body of crustaceans have to expand as they transform from young ones to adults, but their shells do no grow! Their process of change is a rather challenging and uncomfortable one. They experience pain, vulnerability, nakedness, and darkness during their time of progress.
It is imperative to know when you have outgrown your space, but change brings pain, a suffering of discomfort.
Things only become comfortable when we have conformed to our present situation; when we have taken the easy route.
The Bible warns us against this:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)
With this kind of progress and renewal comes the season of vulnerability. As a lobster, a crab or a shrimp develop, it has to go through a process called molting, where it loses its shell and is now exposed, naked and vulnerable to the outside world.
It has to embrace separation from that which it spent a lifetime being a part.
However, a striking attribute of the crustacean family is its capability and sensibility to find a place of shelter in that time of defenselessness. The usual place for the naked, soft and helpless creature to lodge itself during that process is under a rock.
Likewise, when the children of God feel a sense of vulnerability, there is a rock in which to abide!
“No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT)
In the time of hiding away as you pass through your transformation, you must be careful of the people allowed to be around you; It is the season when you can easily be devoured by those that do not mean you well.
As the lobster hides away in the rocks and away from the crowd, so should you abide in the bosom of God.
To them, that lack spiritual discernment; it will appear that your hiding away is as a result of you messing up; they will not understand that you are just careful of who is allowed to be in your intimate space.
It is uncomfortable to part company with the folk you are used to being around, but to survive, you have to rest under the shelter of the rock alone, in the dark for a while – until you have produced a new shell.
The separation and shedding are painful; the regeneration is a long crazy-scary process, but it is a required step in your development.
“And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (MSG)
It is important to know also that the folk around you will seek to get your attention most when you are stepping into your season of growth. You have to be mindful that they are strategically placed just for distraction.
Your past will only haunt you when you decide to walk away from it. The things you used to enjoy before will come knocking once more, but as transformation happens you will be keen to notice that you cannot do new things when still clothed in your old skin. To do new exploits you have to align yourself with new connections.
There can be no new development and accomplishment if we hold on to the old, toxic relationships, the old things that we used to enjoy, the old way of doing business. We have to take on new influences, get a new drive and a renewed inspiration – a fresh anointing – to achieve newness.
CHECK YOUR CONNECTIONS
Every aspect of our lives depict how important connections are, and if they are not right, we end up malnourished, weak, underweight and dying.
During pregnancy, a child connects to its only source of sustenance – its mother – by the umbilical cord. However, severing that connection without providing an alternative source guarantees death.
As that child evolves, it passes from one level of its life to another – it is now grown beyond the womb and is now ready for a room. There comes the season of ripping it away from its place of comfort – its home.
Severing the umbilical cord leave the baby vulnerable and susceptible to death but the separation triggers an innate instinct, and before death can strike, that child instinctively establishes a new and upgraded connection. It searches for and latches on to the breast – a new source.
When the baby is developing into a toddler, the connection switches from mommy’s breast to the bottle, then to the plate, all of which are means of survival.
Maturing into a teenager and subsequently, an adult allows for the establishment of new connections with groups at school, social clubs, church and ultimately with God and the Holy Ghost.
Rest assured that as elevation happens the devil is going to be right there making a ruckus, and he often comes in the form of the old connections that you are about to terminate – the strategy of distraction.
It is vital that the sons of God learn to let people into their lives without allowing them into their spirits.
The painful process of new birth is due to the shrinking space that the baby is living in, and the cramped womb is no longer comfortable for the baby to live. Have you ever been in a place where you are expanding, and the environment is dwindling; your vision is getting so huge, but the room is stifling?
It is time to get out!
I assume that Jabez was feeling this in 1 Chronicles 4: 10 “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
Jabez was so named because his mother bore him in pain.
It is important to note that the portal between the present position and the dream is usually smaller than both the present and the future. An uncomfortable journey.
The womb is bigger than the cervix that the baby has to pass through. Likewise, the room which the infant is getting ready to inherit is vastly bigger than the tight, uncomfortable, dark passage that he has to pass through to get there. A near death experience to say the least.
I can imagine in a delivery room the midwife would be telling the mother to ignore the pain and focus on the child she is about to push from inside of her into the new dimension. Likewise, the Lord wants us to concentrate on that thing that he is trying to birth in us, but he wants us to fix our attention on the promise and not the pain.
Despite the nearly unbearable pain, the bruises, and all the severe stress that the body is going through the spirit is bidding you push. Don’t kill the baby during childbirth; there is more in you than a still-born.
THE PAIN DOESN’T LAST
Growth is scary because of the shame, the changes, and susceptibility involved in the process. However, a major part of personal evolution is the ability to stand firm in the face of our darkness of disgrace, anger, resentment, guilt, and unbridled fear.
Everyone has doubts and weaknesses and to walk into a season of blessing; we have to be able to differentiate what is just fear and what is a reality.
Eventually, the story changes and the new place of higher calling becomes home and is no longer a scary place.
The new shell is now fully developed, and the body fully protected so you can now crawl from under the rock and carry on with life at a higher level and with a new purpose, a new drive and with proper connections!
God has loaded you with gifts and blessings that are yet to manifest but they are in the womb, and the pain you feel is just contractions to tell you that the baby is coming so get ready to push.
To enjoy the blessings you may have to go through a painful, bruising, bloody, mucus-filled ordeal, but when that baby comes out screaming it will all be worth it.
Do not focus on the pain; the pain will not last. The new birth will surely outlast the pain.
If the devil can, he will try to cheat you out of the blessing and he will force you to focus on the pain so you can shut down and leave the baby to die before it can come forth.
But, God has placed a fight within you.
“You’ll eat your fill of good food. You will be full of praises to your God, The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder. Never again will my people be despised.” Joel 2:26-27 (MSG)