Growing up is a game of endurance. It’s the path of life from which we will never depart. We will always be learning and growing and moving into a new season of life. It can be extremely difficult but it helps to have some perspective and some guidance…
Although none of us are raised by perfect humans who know exactly how to anticipate our needs and cater to our unique demands, at a certain point, we become the only ones who can choose our path in life.
How can we move from complete dependence to independence and eventually into healthy interdependence?
Let’s take a look.
At the beginning of our lives, we are completely dependent on our primary caregiver. We literally depend on the actual body of another individual for our sustenance. And even after you wean, you still do not know how to put food into your mouth for another 6-9 months (roughly), and it’s another couple of years until you can even think about preparing your own meal.
Another person has to physically feed you, clothe you and take care of you in every way.
But just as we grow out of the need to be taken care of physically, we grow out of the need to be catered to internally, as well. We have to learn how to speak – to communicate.
Now, just because you know how to speak does not mean you know how to communicate. Communication and healthy person-to-person relationship is a skill much deeper and intricate than learning your ABC’s.
Nevertheless, we begin to function as independent beings. With the independent ability to feed, clothe, take care of ourselves financially, express emotion, etc.
Moving from dependence to independence looks like frustration. It’s the feeling and desire to be free.
The desire to feel the brunt of your decisions. To feel your own power – your own abilities.
There is a tearing that happens in this time of life where you realize that you no longer actually want the kind of help or presence your caregiver used to give you. You have to mourn your dependance – the time where you were simply held, nurtured and your needs were constantly anticipated.
You have to struggle from your cocoon.
It’s a painful process, but you will be stunted and weak if you do not learn to tear away. You have to learn for yourself that you can brave the wilderness. That you are strong. This is the place where you truly find out who you are.
What comes out of you when you are scared? Is it courage? What about when you’re angry? Do you find grace?
There is no other way to know the truth of your heart than to expose yourself to the chaos and the bigness of the world.
You have to go through the fire. You have to learn your strength. You have to feel the pain of abandonment in order to know the value of togetherness.
Fortunately, our little butterfly wings do eventually find rest, and that is in the place of interdependence.
Interdependence is the choice to let people into your world. It looks like recognizing that you actually want input in your life, not just input that was thrust upon you in your dependance.
It’s the desire to partner with people. The ability to let go of the selfishness you learned in independence. The selfishness that developed and acted as your assistant through the tearing from your childhood. That sense of selfishness has to die when you enter interdependence because you no longer need it.
This is the time of life where you realize that your life is complex and that you cannot do it alone. You have found your limit and now need others in order to chase the dreams that sprung from within you from your time in the wilderness.
Growing up is complicated but if you don’t pay attention to how you are growing up you will develop patterns that will cause you to fail in relationships, business and the inner workings of your life.
So pay attention to how you’re growing up. – Who are you becoming to those around you?
Growing up – so who do you want to become?
You want to be able to look at your decisions and boundaries and know that you were strong and courageous and that took the narrow road. One powerful decision at a time, you are building a life that you are proud of. The decision to say “yes” to help, “no” to an unhealthy relationship, etc.
You want to be someone that you’re proud of. You want to live your life in such a manner where you can rest your head at the end of the day and know that you are honoring the greatness within you by being intentional with your decisions.
You want to have the strength to tell the people that you love, that you love them. To tell the people that hurt you that you forgive them. That you have listened to your own heart and found that it is worthy of love and capable of greatness.
You are growing up. And I know it’s hard, but you are learning your own strength and it is a beautiful and worthy fire to walk through.
And don’t forget, as you elevate yourself, without even noticing, you are also elevating those around you, too.
Growing up isn’t about abandoning your child-self or your childhood caretakers – it’s HONORING them. It’s showing them that you can truly be the person you’ve always dreamed of being. And that’s something to be proud of.
Let’s be “fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” (Colossians 1:9-10)