5 Tips For Growing Up

5 Tips For Growing Up

Growing up is a process. Have you ever grown up in some significant way when everything was easy?

Probably not.

There’s the cliché that says, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t believe that’s always true. Sometimes trauma can stunt our growth: child abuse, rape, severe poverty, and others. There are probably many variables that determine how one responds: genetics, time, age, support, personality, and much more.

I DO know that the times when I’ve grown the most have definitely been some of the most difficult. That doesn’t mean to say I’ve grown from every problem! But if I hadn’t had real almost-overwhelming challenges at times I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Sometimes I feel like Einstein when a fire destroyed much of his work. Far from feeling devastated, he is reported to have said, “Now we can start over!”

So what can we do to turn a problem, a tragedy, a loss, a trauma into a growth experience? These tips can help make the difference in growing up.

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Dealing with Desire: Sex and Spirituality Part 2

Holding Hands“It” has been the vehicle for some of the best experiences human beings can have, and also some of the most traumatic and painful.

You’d think with all the downsides sex has brought, all the trauma, shame, guilt that so often have accompanied sex, that we’d shy away from it. But for the most part we keep going back for more. The desires are strong, and they’re rooted in the way we are made. Our need and desire for personal relationship – close, intimate personal relationship – will not be satisfied easily.

In Part 1, I talked about how big this sexual hunger is, and the ways it can often get us in trouble. And now we need to address what to do about it all.

If our desires are built in and divinely created, then it’s what we make the object of those desires and how we try to go about trying to get them met that can be at fault.

So what do we do with our desires? I offer these thoughts:

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Doctor, Doctor: Ignoring the Symptoms

Sick womanI’ll call her Mary.

I could probably use her real name: she’s been dead over 20 years. I met her one night in the emergency room during my residency training. She had been bleeding for months, and finally became so weak that she allowed her family to bring her to the hospital. She hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

The diagnosis was easy to make once I examined her: late stage cervical cancer. We went through the steps: blood transfusion, biopsy, various X-rays, radiation treatment. We kept her as comfortable as we could. But Mary never went home again. She died less than three weeks later.

The real tragedy is that Mary didn’t have to die. At least not then. Not that way. She could have probably lived several more decades enjoying her life, her family – if only ….

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Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

Child Eating FruitWe get hungry! And it starts from the day we’re born.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours. They are completely dependent on others for the timing, quantity, and quality of the food they receive.

Later a child learns to get food into their mouth if it’s provided. With time food preferences develop, and we have an increasing control over how much food, what kind of food, and when we eat. Eventually everything about what we eat is our own choice.

Some people take feeding themselves to an even higher level. An elite athlete, for example, pays great attention to every detail of what they eat for the purpose of functioning at their maximum performance capacity. They may have a nutrition coach. Their eating is with a purpose.

Food for the soul is just like that.

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Wisdom to Know the Difference

Praying HandsSeptember is Recovery Month. That means something to millions of people who have been or are part of a 12-Step program of recovery from some type of addiction/dysfunction, or many related programs. If you’re one of them, it’s almost certain you know – and probably can recite – the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Don’t we get into trouble when we neglect any of those three points? When we fight against those things we cannot change we only wear ourselves out. We become miserable to be around. We become frustrated, anxious, and often angry and bitter. Getting into a negative emotional rut is almost certain. And if you’re fighting an addiction, all that misery certainly sets one up for a relapse.

When we shrink from doing what is within our power to change we are no less miserable. Waiting for anyone, even God, to do for us what we CAN do for ourselves leaves us feeling hopeless and powerless, while becoming weaker all the time. You wonder why things seem to work out for everyone else but not for you. And again, if you’re fighting an addiction it’s a setup for a relapse.

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