You’ve likely heard the saying, “pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.”

Our attitude towards anything can ultimately determine the outcome of it. Our attitude about growing is usually positive, however it’s just the process that we are not as fond of. How do we grow without the pain? Growing involves listening, learning, applying, and it often takes action on our part. Action can lead to change, and change is where the work of growing comes in.

Plain and simple: many of us don’t much like change. Whether it is a new job, a new house and neighborhood, a new church, or a new state! Change is intimidating because we feel confident with what is familiar to us, and we lose that confidence when we are faced with a new set of circumstances. But if we are going to grow, improve, and succeed, we will embrace it because growing means changing.

Our kids face change when they move from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and even more growing pains when they move on to college and the “adulting” process continues into a fulltime job, and so on it goes. We encourage them with words like, “We did it, and you can too.”  “You’ll make new friends.”  “You’ll see, it’ll be great.”  It’s easier said than done, but the process of growing involves change whether we like it or not, whether we’re ready for it or not, and whether we think we can handle it or not. But somehow, we always do.

We can change without growing, but we cannot grow without changing. Meaningful changes comes from the inside out. We can change our environment but resist the growth that comes with it. We can change our diet but not learn about nutrition or grow in our understanding of the vitamins and minerals that are abundant in real food.

We can change our physical looks by losing weight, cutting our hair, or buying a new wardrobe all while not growing as a person or developing our character. It is up to us whether we allow the changes we make to grow us into a more mature, wise, and wonderful human being in the process or whether we allow that change to make us bitter and resentful, therefore resisting the potential personal growth opportunities.

For example: We can pack boxes, send change of address cards, get in the truck and say goodbye to the old homestead but never really leave it behind.

In other words, our body can be in Georgia while our mind and heart are still in Indiana. Physical change does not always mean growth, but when we are open to mental and emotional change (a.k.a. growing pains), it leads to abundant growth.

Change is a valuable part of growing, and growing is a sign of life, a sign of health.  If you find yourself facing a change of some kind, face it with courage, face it with a positive attitude, and face it with a growth mindset.

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