A few years ago, I was enjoying my time with a little girl who was learning to walk. She would hold my finger and toddle around, only letting go when she wanted to change directions. There’s a sweetness when walking with a young child; an innocence you feel needs to be protected and held onto.
We didn’t have any worries as we walked together. All she needed was my finger to remain confident and steady. There was no struggle, no strife… and no development.
As we walked with her, Nancy helped me realize there were times I needed to let go. The smooth surface of the sidewalk was no trouble, but when we ventured onto the uneven grass or the woodchip-covered playground, the leisurely walk became a challenge.
When off the sidewalk, I had to pry her hand off my finger. She was uncomfortable. She was unsteady. She was unhappy. And she was growing. If a caregiver’s job is to help develop a child, (not only protect her), my constant hand-holding was handicapping her.
I think the same is true for each of us. We’re cruising along through life pretty good and then we hit a rough patch. In those moments we all want to reach for something. But what we reach for isn’t always what’s best for our development.
Old habits and addictions reach out their hands to “save” us. And they may comfort us for a while. But they stunt our growth as we walk towards emotional health and healing.
I get it. I don’t want pain and difficulty in my life. When it comes, I’m quick to look for an escape. But without struggle, the only thing that grows is complacency. And refusal to embrace the pain of teetering steps forward, leaves us either frozen in fear or crippled by a crutch that will never allow us to reach our full potential and maturity.
I don’t know your struggle. The pain of the past, the problems in the present and uncertainty of the future can overwhelm us. Keep struggling. You’re worth it and who you are becoming is beautiful. And, you don’t have to go it alone.