I just got my first tattoo (see pic above). It’s the Hebrew word for: growth, flourishing, well being. It was both a really exciting and terrifying experience getting a tattoo that big on my forearm. 

The word “growth” has been one of the primary themes of my life over the last 6 or so months. 

Since summer, I’ve experienced a lot of physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational growth in my life. I wanted to mark the season with getting my first ever tattoo. It also serves as a constant reminder of my continual commitment to growth in all areas of my life.

One thing I didn’t expect is that the tattoo has created a lot of great conversations about the topic with friends and family. 

I would like to share with you two observations about growth. 

1/ Growth = Pain

Growth in any area of life often involves pain. 

Here’s an example in my own life:


Like in the example I gave in the video, sometimes growth requires you to invite pain into your life. 

In this case, you intentionally move out of your comfort zone. You go into the unknown, take a risk, or do something new. 

This is the type of pain I’ll be referring to here. 

Maybe it’s transitioning from bi-vocational ministry to full-time ministry. You’re fearful you won’t be able to sustain yourself financially.

Or maybe it’s finally facing hurts from your past in order to be truly free from them. You don’t want to bring up all those bad memories. 

Or it could be learning to deal with conflict with others in a healthy way, rather than ignoring it or stuffing it down. You’re anxious about rocking the boat and want to keep the peace. 

When you choose to leave the familiar, you’ll always encounter some kind of resistance. Fear, anxiety, being uncomfortable, etc. 

This resistance keeps you from breaking through to substantial growth.

My advice is to….

2/ Lean into the pain. It’s the key to growth. 

Maybe you typically run the other way, refusing to leave what is safe and comfortable.

Or maybe you step out of your comfort zone for a short time, only to return to the familiar.

The one choice you have is how you react to the resistance.

Move towards the fear, anxiety, uncomfortable, etc.

Leap into the unknown. 

Here’s how this played out for me recently…

Due to professional counseling and God’s grace, I’ve become more aware of my emotions and have made multiple breakthroughs in relationships with family, friends, and other people. I’ve been able to embrace people with love and get over some personal hangups that have crippled me for years.

But in order for this to happen, I had to learn to be vulnerable to my therapist, wife, and friends. I had to re-learn my instinct to run from conflict. I had to train myself to not run away from difficult conversations. I had to face the past and discover how it shaped my present. It was scary, difficult, and uncomfortable on so many levels…but so worth it.

Honestly, I’m still a work in progress. I’ve really only begun this journey. 

One of the primary lessons I’ve learned is to run towards the fear. When something feels uncomfortable, do it. Growth is on the other side. 

I’ve been in rapid growth mode since this past summer, and it’s been quite a journey.

3/ Growth is spiritual.

Back to my tattoo.

The reason I’ve chosen the Hebrew word for growth is due to my spiritual roots (and the fact it looks way cooler than English). 

God chose the Hebrew people to be a light to the world. Jesus was Jewish. Christianity to it’s core is rooted in the Jewish culture. 

Salvation is an example of ultimate growth.

Many of Jesus’ teachings are related to the idea of growth. 

God is all about transformation. 

All growth is spiritual.

If you decide to get uncomfortable and start exercising…that’s spiritual. 

If make a commitment to deepen your relationship with your spouse…that’s spiritual.

If you take action on the thing that has been in your heart to do for years…that’s spiritual. 

The Hebrew word on my forearm is way of remembering that growth is always spiritual.

Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

Like this blog post? You’ll also like this one that I’ve written:

How to Face Life’s Problems with More Peace & Less Anxiety

In this blog post, I write about how to face life’s disturbances that are outside your control with less anxiety and more peace.

3 thoughts on “WHY GROWTH IS PAINFUL AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

  • February 21, 2019 at 11:20 am
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    Thank you for sharing your growth and what God’s helping you to learn. I’m enduring a huge growth spurt. One disguised as incredible loss, pain, grief, fear, doubt, and definitely uncertainty. Learning how to invite these into my life has been the toughest thing I’ve ever done. But I’m doing it. And so far, slowly breaking through a wall that’s been in front of me for many years that I never knew existed. Ok, enough about me, I really did just want to say thank you. Lol
    Praying for your continued journey of growth.

    Reply
    • February 21, 2019 at 4:27 pm
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      Hi Ramona, Thank you for sharing part of your journey as well. Praying for continued growth in your life! God Bless!

      Reply
    • February 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm
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      Romona, yeah that’s the way it works sometimes. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your journey with us.

      Reply

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