One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Growing Pains. I wanted to be Ben Seaver so badly. My parents like to tell the stories of when I would walk around telling everyone to call me Ben. Little did I know I was working through growing my identity at that very young age. That’s not the point of this message though.
I also suffered from growing pains in my legs growing up. My bones would grow at fast rates cause me so much pain. You’d think I would’ve grown up to be tall (and if you’ve met me in person you’d see just how untrue that is). That’s thanks to knee surgeries that occurred before my growth platelets closed and stunted my growth. Now I have to make up for my stature in personality. More growing my identity during those younger years. But those points and growing pains aren’t the point of this either.
The point of this is to continue on sharing my journey and the growing pains I’ve been living through. Years later and I am still growing in my identity. In April I shared that I was embarking on a new chapter as I closed the chapter of principalship and
spending my day to day in schools serving in that role. Fast forward a couple of months and here we are. I’ve spent my days meeting a lot of people and making new connections, learning a lot of new content, learning what it means to spend my days in PD world full time, learning even more about the travel lifestyle than I already knew, and basically reinventing my whole life… I even battled COVID during this time.
As I reflect on these last couple of months I have to admit there have been many moments where I’ve questioned my decision and the path I chose to embark on. I’ve wondered if I made the right choice and often have pondered over the fact that I was pretty decent at my job and I enjoyed it. A lot. I knew the role I played leading, I knew the day to day. I knew the people I served and also who I served under. I knew who to call or what to do when faced with most things that were bigger than me. I knew my vision. But now I’m in a new role. I went from being familiar and comfortable to being in the middle of a foreign land knowing really no one and nothing. I’m reminded by my colleagues often alongside other new folks that we were all at the top of our game in our previous roles. We can’t be perfect or on that same level when we just started this. The comfortability and the complacency that existed is not really here anymore. That was part of my reasoning for making the move though after all. I am forced to admit that I am facing growing pains. I’m Ben Seaver all over again… I’m little Elias with camphor under wraps trying to provide compression and relief to my joints, muscles and bones… I’m a professional growing… I’m growing in my identity still 33 years into this journey of life.
I have to remind myself often that I can do hard things. I have to remind myself often that growth is important and that the pains are what are growing me. And most of all I have to remind myself that is all okay. Maybe you need that reminder today too.
Throughout the pandemic, I often would preach the gospel of grace and flexibility to the
teachers I worked with. Reminding them that we were in unchartered waters and we were learning all things new and the only way we would get through it is together and to extend to ourselves healthy and hearty doses of grace and flexibility. It’s a lot easier for me to talk that game and coach other people through serving themselves those things than for me to serve my own plate with it. But here I am, having to scoop that onto my plate and sit down and eat it.
All that being said, I felt compelled to share that current struggle of mine today. To share and remind myself and others that growing pains are real but they are essential, normal and okay. I talk a lot of #RealConnections - so I want to hear from you. What growing pains are you facing in your current season of life or situations, how are you dealing with them, and how can we support each other as we stretch and grow through our growing pains?