Getting advice while growing up
Thomas didn’t understand what was going on. Resistance, a feeling of resistance, was growing deep inside. But resistance to what? He didn’t know. Couldn’t seem to put his finger on it. It was almost as if a wall was being built around his identity; perhaps a boundary was being defined. Whatever it was, something had changed. As a teenager and now even more as a young adult there had been a shift in his thinking, in his feeling. Was this the beginning of a bad attitude or just part of growing up? He wasn’t sure.
Ellen felt the same way. She found herself pulling back as of late. Like a spring that was being compressed she was was getting ready. But ready for what? It was hard to say. One thing was clear though: her thoughts, her feelings, her preferences, her interests, here opinions, and her convictions were beginning to take shape. What had been presented or imposed from the outside, by others, was meeting with resistance on the inside now. Restless, she felt so restless and just wanted to get away. She needed some space to come alive, some room to breath. Why did she feel this way? Was this normal?
And it wasn’t as if they were stuck in difficult or abusive situations either. Life was good, for the most part. A stable and loving family, a safe community, spiritual sanity, friends, adventures…they had everything they needed and more – at least for now. But their needs will change, to some extent, because they will change. Relationships and roles must flex and adjust to the new realities. Infants change into children, children grow up to be teenagers, teenagers become young adults, and young adults wake up one day and discover that they have wings. Hmm…might be a good idea to try those out.
Coming to understand who they are from God’s perspective, and what they are capable of as adults, will take time. In the process, a certain degree of separation is required. With this in mind, resistance to being stifled or smothered or mollycoddled or defined in terms of the opinions are preferences of others is a good thing. It is necessary. Human beings are like snowflakes, each one is beautiful and unique. But while God favors creativity and individuality, many people on earth with power seem to prefer clones; they want everybody to be just like them. Sometimes people don’t even realize what they are doing. But it happens. Pressure is applied and resistance is required.
But there is a potential problem. As this healthy transition begins to takes place; as young people move towards becoming adults; as they begin to understand their value and worth as individuals; and as they build boundaries, here is what can happen: They may have a tendency to overreact and block out healthy influences and advice that they really need to consider. Not good. No, not good at all. For despite their growing maturity, their situation is fragile; they are at risk. They still need guidance, wisdom, and a degree of direction from outside themselves. Inviting positive influences in is critical at this stage in their lives.
Thomas and Ellen, and many others like them, need to be proactive at this point. They need to intentionally separate themselves in order to mature and develop, and they also must intentionally seek out the advice they need. They need to try and become unique individuals within a community; the separation isn’t intended to be complete. They should resist some things but not everything. And if the advice they need is not drifting in their direction it is very important that they take the initiative and go out and find it. Don’t delay.
Growing up can be exciting, but it can also be dangerous and difficult. Guidance is required for healthy growth. So make sure that you get the advice you need.
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