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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

Has anyone ever told you to “Just grow up?”

Chances are the answer is yes.

We all have heard that, usually when we were younger. And despite our age or the circumstances, having someone say that can be a little painful. 

And what’s our reaction typically?

“Who me? What are you saying? Maybe you should grow up!”

Or something like that, right?

But what if I told you that “growing up” is something we all need to do.


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And regardless of the circumstances or the person saying that to you, we should accept the idea of growing up as a healthy challenge and not an insult.

Beyond that, “growing up” is a necessary part of our recovery journey. In fact, Steven Luff (one of our community hosts and a licensed therapist) once said to me that “Recovery is about growing up.”

Can’t get more straightforward than that.

Again, while that sounds insulting, it’s not. It’s just the truth, because when we say “growing up” what we are saying is the need to improve. 

And we all need to improve.
We all need to grow.

Recovery, and life in general, is a never-ending process of learning. Every day has new challenges and every new challenge offers an opportunity to learn and mature.

Those who find success generally are the people that realize this.

They are people who are always learning, always reading, always doing something to expand their knowledge and understanding. In other words, they never get to the point where they think they’ve arrived because they know the truth, no one ever arrives.

In recovery specifically, this is a vital core principle.

Yes, if you are still struggling with unwanted sexual behavior, then there is, without a doubt, learning and growing that needs to happen.

But, even for those who’ve found freedom, the process of growth never stops. I’ve been sober and free for a decade now, and I’m still learning new things about myself, my heart, and my recovery walk. In fact, I’d say I’ve grown more in my awareness and found more healing in the past 24 months than in the past 40+ years.

But, I would never have gotten there if I was still stuck in my addictive ways. I would never have embraced the opportunity of learning and healing if I was still wallowing in my brokenness and shame.

– If you find yourself stuck in your unwanted sexual behavior,

– If you sometimes hear yourself saying, “This will never leave me…”

– If you’ve been tempted to throw in the towel,

Then I invite you to grow up.

If you can’t seem to ever make the right decisions in the moment when temptation arises, GROW UP.

If you struggle with the ongoing pain of abandonment, rejection, and low self-worth, GROW UP.

If you find yourself often feeling separated from God’s love and not worthy of his grace, GROW UP.

If you feel oppressed and crushed by shame, GROW UP.

If your marriage and/or relationships seem to be disconnected and out of sync, GROW UP.

Again, this is not an insult nor is it some sort of “man up” challenge. It’s an invitation to grow and improve, so you can find peace, purpose and healing. It’s me reaching out my hand and inviting you to join me in life’s continual process of learning.

You need to grow up.
I need to grow up.
We all need to grow up.

That’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity. And the only time any of us need to really worry is when we say to ourselves, “Hey, I don’t need to grow up anymore.”

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