Prepare to Grow!

by Dr. Tim Hogan

We Miss Life’s Warning Signals

Sometimes we miss life’s message that it’s time to take action. A close friend of mine got a gorgeous Chevy Camaro for his 16 birthday and he drove it proudly—for about a year. That’s when the engine froze because he never changed the oil. “Didn’t the engine light come on?” I asked him. “Yes, yes it did,” he said, “I just had no idea what it meant.”

Our lives are filled with moments like that.  We are prompted every day with alerts of fear, boredom, anger, emptiness or pain. And we just find a way to keep on going! We miss our body’s warning signals. Our body is telling us that it is time to grow, and we have no idea what it means.

Our Brains Are Wired to Miss Warning Signals

Be gentle with yourself; our brains (and our society) are wired to ignore these important warning signals and do whatever is necessary to feel better, now. Our nervous system strives for equilibrium; it wants things to stay the same. And so when you notice an inner emptiness and sadness it will be easy to miss this wonderful signal that is trying to tell you: “Prepare to Grow!”  Instead, you will reflexively reach for the remote control, the internet, another cup of coffee or some other drug that promises to soothe things back to equilibrium.

It’s Time to Prepare to Grow!

There is another way. Perhaps you can notice the warning lights and accept them as in invitation to learn. Perhaps they are saying to you “prepare to grow”!

Are you bored? Do you spend more than 5 hours per week watching TV or surfing the net? …then your warning light is on: Prepare to Grow!

Have you noticed your marriage or friendship going cold going stale? Then prepare to grow!

Have you lost the vision for how you can make a difference in the world? Then prepare to grow!

Take Action! One Small Step at a Time

If your  “prepare to grow” warning light is on, consider doing one small thing to prepare to grow:

  • Go a week without your TV or computer (or whatever “it” you are using to avoid your life). When you have the urge to reach for “it” go for a walk, pray, journal or call a sensitive and wise friend or pastor and tell them what you are noticing.
  • Describe three times in your life when you felt spiritually connected to God (even if these weren’t in church!). What is one small thing you could do to honor this spiritual core of your being?
  • What are three ways you can love, serve or bless your spouse or close friend today?

So, how’s your emotional dashboard? Any lights on? Maybe it is time to prepare to grow!

Please share what you have learned about noticing the “warning lights” in your life.

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