If growth is necessary and good, why does it hurt so much? I am on the growth edge; and it feels like death at times. It feels like the best place in the world only moments later. My heart is tender and dangerously exposed as I dare to dream and step toward the vision relentlessly. When I try to understand what feels so terrifying about stepping into my calling, fear overwhelms me and the “what-ifs” chime in. There is a voice that criticizes and mocks my brave stepping. I know that it is not the voice of truth, because there is no kindness or love. If I listen to this voice too long, I start to believe the lies and get paralyzed.
Every step I take toward the light and beauty of the vision feels extremely risky. I want to shrink back, hide and find my way to the comfort zone of what is known. The pain and confusion that swirl in the dangerous places of growth feel like more than I can bear. One critical step on the journey toward growth and stepping out in faith to move toward calling is to show up even when I feel like withdrawing because I am “messy.” It feels dangerous to bring my face to the table when it is covered in tears or shame and yet it is the only way to become all that I am meant to be. We are harmed and healed in community.
This week, when I went for a bike ride with my friend Kelly, she asked good questions and helped me see more of the big picture than I could see from my limited perspective. I shared with her my hearts desire which is to be wildly successful, she asked me what that looked like and I answered in metaphor:
Like a tree…
Rooted and established in Gods love
Firm and stable, present and engaged with my family and community
Reaching out my branches to provide comfort and care for those in need
Bearing much fruit
Calm and still through the changing seasons and storms of life
Willing to release my leaves and trust the winter
Allowing the natural rhythms of growth and change
Celebrating and giving thanks for the sun and the people that make life possible
Later that day as I was thinking about the tree, I remembered the forest. Just that week I invited my students to stand in a circle facing one another and practice tree pose in isolation. Next I invited them to outstretch their arms and become a forest of trees. After feeling the relief and comfort of connection I ask which feels better and the forest always wins. Then in unison we say, “It is better together… EVERY TIME!”
To be human is to connect. The best way to handle the growth edge or any other tricky spot on your journey is with community. Practice reaching out and asking for what you need. Share your heart and your dream and let wise and loving people breathe life into your vision. Experience the gift of being held and supported as you become for one another the body of Christ. Using each unique gift and talent to support each another in the becoming is a holy place to be.