The Pain of Growth

Yesterday, rather than going to my normal gym, I went with a friend to his gym and exercised with him on his exercise routine. Today, I am reaping what I have sown: pain, tenderness, soreness, stiffness, and wonderful feelings of growth, strength, and accomplishment.

For years and years I avoided the gym, simply because the thought of it was just too painful. Why would anyone in their right mind take time out of their busy schedule to put themselves through hell and back day after day? Just thinking about exercising nearly made me reach for the ibuprofen and an ice pack.

One of the side effects of Western culture in a post-modern society is that we don’t have a concept of anything beyond the current moment. Why should I take an hour or more to prepare a healthy meal when I can drive through McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A and eat it now? Why set back a portion of my income each week for the future, when I could use that money now? Why invest in a skill that takes years to develop, when I can settle for a decent-paying job now (that will probably lay me off in a year)?

Many times we choose to forego the investment into tomorrow to satisfy the demands of today. We rob Peter to pay Paul and continue to slide away from a life of fulfillment and stability into a constant scouring for how we can be fulfilled in our current moment. Or how we can be entertained when we are unsatisfied with the choices we have made that have lead us to this point.

Yes, growth is painful. But there is a reward, a beauty, and a sense of confidence that come as a result of the pain of growth. Sure, we can avoid pain, but only at the expense of atrophy. Growth, however, brings with it a cost. And if you’re willing to pay that cost, little by little, then you will grow and become something better, stronger, and more confident than what you were yesterday, a week, or a year from today.