“It’s just a phase.”
A paltry attempt at encouragement. That whatever we are facing will not last. A fading portion of the growth process. Phases become something we buckle down and endure rather than soak in and enjoy.
There are phases in childhood. 5 phases of grief. We might see depression as a phase. Maybe we go through an anxious phase. An awkward phase. A transition phase…
Phases – ways and periods of expression that we and others may not understand.
Painful phases often leave me wanting to crawl into a hole, yet sprint as fast as I can, all at the the same time. But no matter how quickly I try and move, the phase will last as long as it is going to last. I can’t rush it by quickening my pace, exhausting myself, squashing myself in shame, or hyperventilating in panic. None of these things will deliver me from a portion of my life God intentionally designed me to walk through. Where He wants me to walk, I must walk. Even in the midst of incredible disappointment and frustration, the path remains.
And what if it wasn’t just a phase?
What if I stopped excusing away difficult portions of life and started swallowing them for what they really are – moments that I can stop – open my eyes – immerse myself in the rawness of life – and soak it the heck in.
We run through and from these crude, rudimentary places as if they could harm us greatly. Like they will burn us alive if we dare let them cradle the unrefined secret places.
And what if the secret places could be healed by phases? What if depression and a deep sense of still could lend itself to new understanding-and eventually overcoming-dysfunction? What if a toddler throwing themselves on the floor is a chance to soothe the most tender needy places? What if the blistering sting of anxiety is necessary for growth?
The moments God places before you are precious. Perhaps painful, but freaking awesome. Do not dismiss them away as unstudied offhand occurrences. They are calculated. What if we embraced the rawness of their brutish glory? It pains me to think of how much life we miss because we are so dang afraid of a little discomfort and sadness.
It’s just a phase, and at the very same time, it’s so much more.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 ESV
It’s a new thing and the passing of an old thing. It’s a way and a wilderness. It’s a river and a desert. It is both and all of these things – all at once. Sweet Jesus, help us to behold exactly what you have for us in this phase, even if it’s horribly distressing and inconvenient. In the midst of it all we don’t want to miss what you have for us. We want to see you.