I’m back from the writing conference. It was stressful to interact with so many people for several days in a row away from my usual support system. However, I had a lot of fun.

Three years ago when I attended the same conference, I cried in my room every night because it was so stressful. This time, there weren’t any tears. It’s moments like this, where I can look back to a similar situation and see how much better I handled it, that I can see how much growing I’m doing.

As an adult, I think we think less about our growth. It isn’t as visible as it was when we were younger. When everything is new, we grow in all directions.

As a child, the challenges are built in. We learn to walk, talk, and eat with a spoon. When we’re older, we choose a lot of our challenges. Not all of them, though. Sometimes they sneak up on us and there isn’t much we can do to avoid them.

We all eventually have to deal with hard things that we wouldn’t have chosen. It’s a part of life. Luckily, there is a silver lining. Hard things can be a source of learning and growth.

I say can be, because we don’t have to grow from challenges. We can refuse to face them or hand them off to someone else. While this may be the appropriate response for some challenges, it would not be good for us to handle every challenge this way.

We grow when we accept challenges and attempt to meet them. Success or failure doesn’t matter as much as whether or not we stretch to meet a goal. It’s how we keep the skills we have and gain new ones. It is stressful and difficult, but at the end, there is a lot of satisfaction that we did all we could and made it through the challenge to the other side.

As it says in Psalm 30:5, “ …weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

I will continue to find challenges. Life is like that. I can already see some heading this way. I hope that I continue to stretch and learn and grow. I’d like to find joy in the morning.

As you look back and see how much you’ve grown, what have you learned? Are there any challenges that you’ve chosen that you are excited about?

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