My dad had terrible growing pains as a child, so I was not surprised when I ended up suffering from them as well. Most of mine were in my feet and legs, and they were uncomfortable to say the least. In one year, I went from being the second-shortest player on my soccer team to the second-tallest. A person cannot grow that quickly without some sort of repercussions!
One thing that helped me endure the pain was the reminder that at some point, I would stop growing and the discomfort would eventually go away for good. It was only for a relatively short season of life that I had to face this problem. And, indeed, I finally stopped growing just before I turned 17. How glad I was to be rid of those awful growing pains!
Then something happened, something I never expected: the growing pains returned! Of course, these new pains were not related to the physical expanding of my body, but instead I developed spiritual, mental, and emotional growing pains. The down side to them is that they will never go away completely. They may subside for a season, but as long as I'm alive, I will face growth spurt after growth spurt as I learn more about about the Lord, more about life, and more about love.
These growing pains are just as wearisome as physical growing pains, and I find that I deal with them just as poorly as I did the physical ones. I moan, complain, whine, and fuss about the hardships that cause them. I pray for them to go away. I do everything I can to alleviate them. In all honesty, I hate them.
That said, I am also, very slowly, trying to learn to appreciate them. There really are some blessings that come from them. For example, they mean that I am alive. Pain cannot touch a dead thing. I am physically alive, spiritually alive, and mentally alive. They also indicate that I am growing (no duh!), and my hope is that I am growing in a positive way. They keep me from complacency. They stretch me. They teach me. They strengthen me. And once they're gone for the moment, they reveal relief in their absence.
Growing is not fun, and I of all people am the least gracious during periods of growth. The Lord is teaching me, though, just how much I need these growing pains and that I need to appreciate them. I find it difficult to admit to that, but I'm learning that a renewed attitude toward them helps me to more deeply benefit from them. Ironically, it also helps them to disappear more quickly.
I doubt that I will ever truly enjoy growing pains. I am, however, thankful for them and for what I am learning as a result of them. Someday, I'll be able to look back and see even more clearly the many ways that they have enriched, strengthened, and shaped my life.