The Fear of Growth

1_84As you may have noticed from a couple of past blogs, I have been enjoying the learning journey with Richard Rohr through his book, Everything Belongs.  I’m on my second trip through "Rohr land"…contemplating contemplative prayer and the implications of spiritual development in my life.  Last night’s reading was especially relevant to some in the faith community that I am privileged to be in…many of the people in our community fear growth.  I wouldn’t want to come across as overtly arrogant here…but that frustrated me when I first heard many of them share their growth apprehensions.  I thought to myself, "they just don’t get it, do they?"  Until I sat back and realized that although I have a few more miles on my life than many of them, I still fear growth.  There is something about it that sounds good until you start walking on its forbidding shores.  Here’s another taste of Rohr on growth:

"If we’re not willing to be led through our fears and anxieties, we will never see or grow….every step up the ladder of moral development is taken in semi-darkness, by the light of faith.  The greatest barrier to the next level of conscience or consciousness is our comfort and control at the one we are at now.  Our first response to anyone calling us to truth, greatness, goodness, or morality…will be increased anxiety.  We don’t say, ‘isn’t this wonder’.  Instead we recoil in terror and say, ‘I don’t know if I want to go there’."

2 thoughts on “The Fear of Growth

  1. growth -> change -> stress -> growth?

    pretty simple formula, but it kinda boils down the whole thing for me. when anything grows, there are a lot of changes that occur. if its the growth of a community, the community might take on a different shape, it might take on a new personality, there might be new rules and regulations that you have to abide by, or any number of changes.

    since in my belief, humans are naturally pretty lazy, change causes stress. now, for all those out there who see stress and immediately think its a bad thing, when was the last time you went to the gym? when we run, when we lift weights, when we excercise, we put our bodies under stress. excessive stress is of course detrimental, but stress and rest is a natural part of life.

    so, as change happens in a community it causes stress – this is ok! you adapt, you change, you grow personally and as a community. after lifting weights, what happens to your muscles?

    so, for all the “anti growth” ites out there, pick up the dumbell! lets get some rippling biceps around here!

    good thoughts by the way poppers. thanks for pushing all of us and exposing us to new things regularly.


  2. first of all, I love this book and am glad that you are sharing it. When I read it, I kept on finding myself wanting to read it out loud to someone.

    About a week ago, we had someone come to look at our apartment to see if they wanted to rent it next semester, and, as I was cleaning my room, i found myself having a hard time becuase I was thinking, “I am making my room nice so that someone other than me will want to live here.” and I just sort of got really sad and nervous. I realized in that wierd moment that for me to do what I am doing next semester, I am dying to the life that I know now.

    I was talking to my roommate about this sudden anxiety attack later, and she told me about this clas that she took on death, dying, and greiveing once and she was telling me how you have to grieve things in life, even if it isn’t physical death. I’ve been thinking about this, how when we are daring to stare death and growth and change in the face, the face we are actually looking into is death to the way we have been before. And I wonder if change is so hard becuase we never allow ourselves to see that death, but I think that this is really what Jesus meant (or one of the things) when he said that we have to die before we can live. I just thought that little revelation was really beautiful.

    anyway, good book. thanks for sharing…


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