DON’T Go Back

It goes without saying that each season of our lives is different from the other seasons of our lives.  The season that I just left as a college student is incomparable to anything I had endured in the past or will endure in the future.  However, I find myself comparing my current season to my life as a college student.  My college friends lived walking distance from me; all of my friends here live at least a fifteen-minute drive from me, and we all have jobs that prevent us from seeing each other.  The students at my school understood me because most of them were my age and studied under the same professors; when I ask people here, “You know what I’m saying?” they say, “Um, no.”

When comparing my life now to my life a few weeks ago, there is a temptation to want to go back.  Sure, I am moving forward, but my heart desires to return to my old ways.  Looking at the way things used to be, it seems so much easier than what I am living now.  Although it was difficult, there was structure, and I liked the work that I had to do as a college student.

On the other hand, there are things about my life as a college graduate that is better than before.  I am glad that I do not have to pay college tuition anymore.  I have more options at mealtimes.  I have more space in my room than I had in my college dorm that I had to share with another person (even though I loved my roommate!).  I have more freedom with my schedule now that I don’t have papers to write.

Despite the fact that it is tempting to go back to our old seasons, the reality is that we cannot get those seasons of our lives back.  Instead, we need to move on.  Leave what’s behind, behind you, and cling to what is ahead of you.  Instead of comparing your previous situation to what you have  now, learn to appreciate your current situation.

One thing that has helped me appreciate any season of my life has been writing thank you notes.  Whether I actually give them to people I appreciate or hold on to them to remind me of their kindness, they allow me to process the positive influences that these people have had on me.  Gratitude gives me hope for the future.

This blog post ends my series on transitions.


Goodbye vs. See You Later

For a while, I thought that a transition was a completely new start.  I could wipe my slate clean of all the distressful people I had met and the memories that made me shudder.  However, I do not have to forget about the people that actually helped me grow, and the memories that motivate me to be joyful and successful.

True maturity is knowing when to say “goodbye” and when to say “I’ll see you later.”  “Goodbye” is definite, while “I’ll see you later” provides an opportunity to reconnect.  When I had my exit interview for my job at the writing center, my boss told me to e-mail her with updates about how I am doing.  My professors all made sure I knew that I could still contact them if I needed support.  I found ways to stay in touch with my friends through Facebook or texting, making plans to see them in the near future.  However, there were some people that I did not want following me into this next season of my life, so I avoided them or gave them a definite, “Goodbye.”

Sure, that season of my life is over, and it will never be the same.  However, that does not mean friendships have to end.  I may never be an undergraduate student again, but that does not mean I will never see my friends again.  It only means that I will never see them like I did before.  Instead of seeing them in the cafeteria, in classes, and in my dorm, I’ll probably Skype with them, take them out to lunch, or go on a weekend trip to visit them.

As you are thinking about who to bring with you into the next season of your life, think about the direction in which your life is going.  If you know someone who can help you attain the career that you want, stay in contact with him. If someone has blessed with you wise counsel, encourage her by continuing to share the good events happening in your life. Always leave room for an opportunity to stay in contact.  A few years down the road, you may need those people.  As a matter of fact, they may even need you! When it’s time to say, “Goodbye,” you’ll know.  But when it’s time to say, “See you later,” make “later” a possibility.


A Juggling Act

I have a few friends that like to juggle.  One time, while I was bored, I picked up some rocks and taught myself how to juggle.  After observing my friends, I thought I was a pro.  Later, I told one of my friends how great I was at juggling.  He watched me as I threw three tennis balls around, feeling like an expert.  “How am I doing?” I asked hopefully. “You’re doing it wrong,” he told me flatly.  He grabbed the balls from my hands.  “This is how you do it.”  I stared as he juggled with such ease.  As he threw the balls into the air, he shot words of advice in my direction.  Now, I knew I should not have been upset.  I had only started. I am sure that with more time, practice, and guidance, I could learn how to juggle.

Lately, it seems like my life has been a juggling act. Now that I have graduated, my life is not structured.  People ask me, “So… what have you been doing?”  I feel like they expect an answer like, “I’m getting my master’s in the fall” or, “I got a journalism position in the city.”  But instead, I tell them the jumble of activities that I have been doing to occupy my time.  I just started working at JCPenney again.  I’m writing a blog.  Next week, I’m starting a TEFL certification class.  In October, I’m going to Haiti for a week. I’m visiting friends over the summer in different states.  I applied to work as a page designer for a local newspaper.  Hopefully, if I plant enough seeds, something will bloom into a career…or at least a way to pay off my loans.  When I pay off some loans, I’ll look into getting my masters in something.  These activities are not related to each other.  I’m simply looking at my skills, passions, and interests, and making the most of the fact that I have no obligations until my loan payments start in a few months.

As I answer the question – “What are you doing with your life?” – it feels like all the pins that I’ve been juggling are falling to the floor.  I feel like something is not right.  I watch other people and wonder why their lives look so orderly.  Part of me wonders if life will always be this way.  Without college, will my life be in a constant state of confusion and uncertainty?  Since I trust God with my life, I know that I am in good hands, but I am looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.  I am waiting for life to make sense again.

Transitions are allowed to be chaotic.  It’s OK to be in a period of uncertainty.  If you have trusted God with your future, you are in good hands. Before you have any obligations, I encourage you do what you love. Use your gifts and passions to help someone else.  Trust that what you plant – your talents, skills, and energy that you put to use – will eventually grow into something fruitful.  Keep trying; with practice, guidance, and time, we can master this juggling act!


Let Go, and Let it Out

When classes were over and most students went home, the seniors had a BBQ to celebrate graduation.  Everyone was having a good time.  Some students were squirting each other with water, and others played with glow sticks.  I was enjoying some food while talking with some friends.

Over time, it became chilly outside.  I turned to one of my friends and said, “I think I’m going up to my room to get my jacket.”  She smiled and told me to go ahead.  As much as her answer was fine, our interaction caused me to miss one of my best friends.  Normally, when I needed to go to my room (or anywhere for that matter), my friend would hop up from her seat and insist that she accompany me.  But at the time, she was on her way back to her home state, on the other side of the country.  Suddenly, I felt the urge to cry.  While everyone was having fun around me, I could not help but feel sad.

I went back to my room, grabbed my journal, and wept.  It had finally hit me that my time as a college student was over.  Most of my friends were back in their home states (or even their home countries) far away from me.  There I sat, sobbing in my room, as the sun set and darkness filled the sky.  I wrote whatever came to mind in my journal.  I wrote down what I was honestly feeling, knowing that no one else would read it.  I was raw with my emotions and how I expressed them.  In between sentences, I would take breaks to cry.  I would also take breaks to pray, giving my burden to God and trusting that this pain would not last forever.  At the end, I felt much better.

Over the next few days, I put my emotions to the side again.  My senior class went on a trip to Washington D. C.  I couldn’t cry on a fun trip like that!  Then the next day I saw some friends for the last time.  I wanted to enjoy seeing them rather than talking about how much I would miss them.  The day after that, I graduated. Between packing, cleaning, eating, driving, seeing family, and taking pictures, I had no time to process how I was feeling.

On graduation day, my friend gave me a piece of paper that helped me sort through my emotions.  The paper had questions printed on it, such as “How are you feeling?” and “Why do you feel that way?”  When I finally settled back into my house – after sitting in traffic and then driving around just to let off some steam – I looked at the note. Well, this looks great, I thought excitedly, let me fill this out.  As I started to think about how I felt, all the emotions that I had stuffed finally welled up like a geyser inside of me.  I ran for my journal and started writing again.  I felt a random assortment of emotions.  In one sentence, I was happy to be finished with school.  In the second sentence, I was angry that I had sat in traffic.  I was sad, excited, and scared all in one moment.  While I was processing my feelings, it seemed like there was a deep burden in my chest, like a rock was weighing down my soul.  As I cried, as I was honest with my emotions, as I gave my emotions and my confusion to God, the burden lifted.

Last blog post, I talked about the importance of enjoying the last moments of a season.  However, it is also important to grieve what was lost.  I write in my journal every chance I get, filling the pages with my thoughts and feelings.  These emotions are normal, even if everyone else appears joyful and excited.  Give yourself time to grieve. I know that you cannot turn off your emotions like a faucet. However, if you stuff your emotions, they will be more uncontrollable when you finally deal with them.

I encourage you to write down how you are feeling and why you think you feel that way.  Write about how you honestly feel.  If you do not like to write, find a person who could support you as you grieve.  Do whatever you can to deal with your emotions in a healthy way.  If you need to cry, make sure that you are comfortable as you do so.  Cry with someone who could hug you or listen to you as you process your thoughts.  Cry squeezing a pillow or curled up in your bed.  Do not be surprised if you feel a mix of emotions, especially if you are used to stuffing your feelings.

When you leave a good season, let it go, but let out your emotions. Give up your emotions to God.  By trusting him with your situation, you know that your tears are not shed in vain.  Letting out your feelings with help you to move on into the next season.


Running Back For One Last Hug

As I’ve been thinking about the idea of transitions, the image of hugging comes to mind.  In my life, hugs have symbolized happy endings.  Before leaving for my junior year of college, I hugged a great group of friends that I had met that summer.  I hugged my friends from Spain before going back to the United States.  I hugged all my friends from college before graduating.

A few weeks ago, I went out to eat with my friends for the last time that we would all be together.  We had a great time taking pictures and laughing.  At the end of the night, we all hugged each other.  Afterwards, we stood there and talked for a few minutes.  We hugged again, but then we talked.  Finally, we all just said, “OK, one more hug.”  We enjoyed one last hug together, and then we parted ways.

Some seasons are easy to leave.  If there’s a job, a class, or situation that I do not like, it will be easy for me to say goodbye when it is time.  However, there are times where we don’t want to move on to the next season.  Graduating college was one of those times for me.  I was very comfortable living in a dorm with women my age that encouraged me and supported me.  I enjoyed eating with my friends, having classes with my friends, and studying with my friends.  It seemed that community followed me everywhere.

By the end of March, right after Spring break, talk of graduation started.  Students would come up to me and remind me that I was graduating within a matter of weeks.  One of my friends who was graduating with me posted a countdown on his Facebook.  Professors began to ask me what I was doing after college.  Everyone was ready to finish, but I still had about a month and a half before I had to think about graduation.

I am not going to deny that college was difficult, or that I was excited to graduate.  However, looking at my calendar in March, I was sad to leave the place I had called my home for four years.  Walking around campus, I remembered the laughs, the tears, and the conversations I shared with other students.  Once I would walk across the stage, I knew that my life would be different.

In my last few weeks of school, I decided to make the  most of every opportunity.  I spent time with my friends.  I studied with more strength and fervor than I ever had before.  I made healthy decisions that allowed me to take care of myself.  Rather than complaining or letting life pass me by, I enjoyed every moment.

In an instant, all of the friends, programs, jobs, and classes that I had enjoyed appeared to cease as I graduated.  I said goodbye to my status as a college student, my job at the writing center, my friends from my major, my favorite classes, my professors, my job as layout editor of the college newspaper, my dorm, and all the people that have blessed my life during this season.

There came a time where I had to say goodbye to my season as a college student.  I had to let go of what I was leaving behind and embrace what was before me.  Since I enjoyed my last few weeks in college, I had no regrets when I graduated.  Because of the blessings I had received as a student, I look forward to how I will be blessed in the future.

If you are going through transitions – whether you are graduating, leaving a job, finishing a program, or changing schools – I encourage you to enjoy the last moments that you have.  Instead of counting down the days until it is over, think about something unique that you can do now. What is a privilege that you have where you are right now?  What do you have now that you will not have when this ends?  Whatever you do, do it with joy and excitement.

Take some time to reflect on the good memories you have.  It is easy to recall the difficult and stressful times, but the fun memories are the ones worth remembering.  If you like to journal, write down some memories that make you smile, and reflect on the obstacles that you have overcome.  Be thankful for the blessings that you have received from God.  Use the hope of these blessings to give you hope for the future.

It’s OK…you can run back for one last hug.


Trying on New Clothes: You Can’t Go Around It

Transitions are those moments in life that are in between two seasons.  In a lifetime, one has many seasons.  In college, these seasons are packaged tightly into neat packages called semesters.  After college (for me), seasons are more disorganized, and transitions are more drastic.

Transitioning from a college student to a…well, a non-college student…has been difficult.  It seems like I had let go of so many great opportunities after I had walked across that stage.  At the same time, I now have access to even greater opportunities that lie ahead of my path.  I said goodbye to some wonderful friends, only to say hello to new co-workers and deeper relationships with people I knew before college.  It has felt like trying on new clothes.  The clothes feel clean and refreshing, but there was nothing wrong with my old comfortable clothes.  At this point in my life, I am trying to discover what to wear, what to throw out, and what to save for later.  As I grow, the clothes that were once comfortable may become itchy, worn out, or tight.

Transitions between seasons are difficult, but they are worth it.  They can come in numerous forms, from graduation to getting a job promotion to losing a loved one.  The temptation is to try to avoid transitions.  It is possible to go from one season to another without taking the time to grieve what was lost, process what was gained, and make a plan for the future.  However, inevitably, you will hit a bump in the road and will have to go back to deal with what you did not process before.

Journey with me as I process through my transitioning from a college student to whatever else God has for me.  This time in my life is different, because I have never done it before, but I believe that there is hope at the end of this.  Life is a process that takes time to unfold, and we need to take the time to understand what we are facing.  I am thankful for those who have taught me the importance of reflection, grieving, and hope.  I hope that this blog series will not only help me verbalize my feelings, but will also encourage anyone else who is moving from one stage of life to another.


From Childish to Childlike: The Value of Transitions

Over the past few days, I have been talking about transitioning from childish to childlike.  But what are the benefits of going from childish to childlike?  If our goal is to be spiritually mature, why would we want to explore life as a child?

From the time I was seven years old until I was about sixteen, my life was chaotic.  My childhood was taken from me by divorce, stepparents, responsibilities, hidden emotions, and anxiety.  These events are still pretty tough for me to discuss, even though they happened nearly ten years ago.  When normal children were having fun and playing, I was in my house, trying to sort through how I felt.  I balanced taking care of my sister, seeing my parents, and entertaining a bipolar stepfather, while attempting to figure out why I was so anxious all the time.  My stepsisters made fun of me whenever I acted my age, despite the fact that they were only two years older than me.  They constantly compared themselves to me.  As a result, I put away childish things.  I grew up, forgetting the joy and peace I felt as a child.

During my college years, I was scared of growing up.  Whatever chance I had of going back to my childhood was over.  I cried a lot over the loss of opportunities.  I journaled about my fears and concerns, like getting a job or having my own family.  Because I missed my childhood, I did not feel safe about going into the future.

When I went on that retreat and played on the challenge course, I thought a lot about my childhood.  I remembered the fun time I had in kindergarten.  I remembered the embarrassing moments from elementary school.  I remembered my friends and the activities I enjoyed doing.  Honestly, although that time I had on the playground was short, it was helpful to grieve my childhood so that I could look toward the future.  It was not possible for me to grow up because I desired a childhood that I didn’t have.

As you walk from childishness to childlikeness, do not be afraid to grieve.  If you did not have a childhood, take some time to play. Humble yourself.  Take a break from work to do what you love.  Spend time with friends.  Look up at God and thank Him for the life that He has given you.

This blog post concludes my series “From Childish to Childlike.”  After a quick break this weekend, I will continue to discuss the importance of transitions.  Come back on Monday to read my new series. Thanks for your continued support.  Be blessed!


From Childish to Childlike: It’s OK to Be OK

“It’s OK not to be OK.”  I would hear this phrase all the time at school.  This idea gave me the freedom to grieve and admit my shortcomings, trusting that I was not struggling alone.  I had the right to cry and get angry, and I had the right to ask for help.  That is true vulnerability.  In light of this mentality, I had the opportunity to deal with the emotions and thoughts that I had kept bottled inside me.

However, in my last year of college, I was blessed abundantly.  I had very little complaints; I only wanted to talk about how God was providing for me financially, how I had a great mentor that taught me so much, and how I had seen an incredible amount of miracles.  I had the ability to be thankful for the little things.  Generally, I was satisfied with my life; even when problems came my way, I had peace that everything would work out in the end.

Although I was doing well, I was surrounded by people who were in tough situations.  I would walk into the cafeteria, full of joy, and would come across friends that were in horrible moods.  After seeing their sorrow, I would feel awkward about my happiness.  Could I boast about the blessings that I have received, or should I emphasize with my friend by finding something to be sad about?  If I knew someone was having an off day (or even an off week), I would avoid her, hiding the joy that I felt.

It may be OK not to be OK, but it is also OK to be OK.  In a world full of negativity and complaining, it is nice to have a ray of hope shine through.  Negativity is overwhelming, so it takes a lot of strength to be joyful.  If you’re having a good day, do not be afraid to show your happiness!

As a result of my freedom and joy, I dance.  Dancing makes me feel like there are no limitations, no burdens holding me back.  I may not be very good at dancing, but I do it anyway.  People have told me that they enjoy watching me dance because they can see how happy I am.

When I graduated college, my friend dedicated the song “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, to me.  I think that this song describes childlikeness perfectly.  It is clear that this song is a dedication to children. Based on the lyrics of this song, here are ten ways I have discovered that it is possible to dance, to be OK even in the midst of struggle:

1.  Keep Dreaming: Like I said in the last post, dreaming is a risk, but life is not worth living without hope.

2.  Never Settle For Less: Even when you are satisfied with the way things are, do not be afraid to expect more.

3.  Be Thankful for EVERYTHING: Whatever you have is a gift, and you would miss it if it was gone.  Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, be thankful for what you do have.

4.  Pray and Trust God to Provide: God is faithful, and He will not leave you in want when you put your trust in Him.

5.  Be Humble: It is OK to boast in your strengths, but remember not to think any better of yourself than of someone else.

6.  Take Risks as New Opportunities Arise: If a situation does not work out, keep looking for new opportunities.

7. Hope Against All Hope: Even when it seems impossible, believe.

8.  When You Have to Choose, Don’t Let Fear Decide For You: Fear ends in failure; live your life in joy rather than in anxiety.

9.  Don’t Fear the Future: Approach new situations with hope and excitement instead of fear.

10.  Don’t Choose the Comfortable Route Just Because It’s Easier: Life is difficult; it is full of suffering and trials, but it is worth it.

So, if you’re OK, let your joy shine!  I hope that instead of negativity, that you choose to dance in joy and freedom.


From Childish to Childlike: Open Your Heart

“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open.  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.  In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13).   

Children are free.  Children follow their own instincts and do not let anything restrict them.  They can trust anyone that their parents or caregivers say are safe.  If children have good relationships with their parents, babysitters, teachers, or relatives, they can trust the people that these authority figures put in their lives.

As children get older, their dreams fade. They encounter people that abuse their innocence, hurting them in the process.  So they stop dreaming.  They stop taking risks.  Their teenage years are filled with angst, because there is a battle between what they want to do and what they should do.  Ex-lovers, step parents, and classmates continue to tell them to stop hoping.  To protect the little hope that they have, they close their hearts.  No one can take this from me, they say, swearing that they will build up walls, not just against negativity, but against everyone and everything.  Without taking risks, their hope dies, and there is nothing left but bitterness and limitations.

Last blog post, I talked about the importance of community.  However, I understand that asking help from others and living in community involves taking risks.  You need to be vulnerable, and that’s not easy.  How do you know that those who are around you will not tear you down instead of build you up?

I know what it feels like to have someone tear me down.  There was an issue that I was struggling with that no one knew about at the time.  I opened up my heart and shared this struggle with someone I knew.  Instantly, this person tried to fix me by giving me Bible verses and telling me that the way I was handling it was not right.  In that moment, my feelings were not validated.  Since then, I could not tell anyone about this issue.  I closed my heart.

In my last semester of college,  I became part of a small group of women that claimed that they were a safe community.  Nevertheless, when I first met them, I made a promise to myself: I will not tell anyone about my deep issue. Telling people will not help. It will only make it worse.  Eventually, after getting to know the group, I realized that they were trustworthy people.

One day, I didn’t feel like being at our meeting.  One of my friends looked at me.  “You look like you need to talk.”  I didn’t. Well, at least, I didn’t think I needed to talk.  But since she asked, I started talking.  I mentioned very basic concerns that I had.  Then I stopped.  Everyone looked at me, waiting for me to finish. I went a little bit deeper.  Then I stopped.  I knew where this was going.  They looked at me again.  Apparently, it was obvious that I needed to share.  I opened my heart up completely.  What had locked up my heart for years was spewed out in front of me onto the floor.  I couldn’t stop talking.

I stared at the floor, refusing to look up.  I just wanted my friends to go away, hoping that they wouldn’t judge me like I knew they would.  One of my friends said, “Look up!”  Finally, I did.  They simply smiled at me.  As we hugged, a few of them told me that they were proud of me and that they already saw a difference in me. No one said anything judgmental.  They had proven their promise.  They are a safe community.  They became my close friends.  I didn’t only open up to them; they opened up to me.  Because of their trustworthiness, it became easier for me to open my heart.

But how did I get there in the first place?  The only reason I could give is that the Lord is my defender.  Since God is faithful, if all else fails (and honestly, all else will fail), I know I can trust God.  My friends are a gift from God, so I can trust them.  If I can’t trust them…well, I’ve been hurt before, and it hasn’t killed me yet!  Regardless of what you’re going through, the way to be free is to open up your heart.

Now that you are mature, you are not bound by the restrictions of other people.  The only thing holding you back is your own fears.  Let yourself dream.  Don’t be afraid of risks.  Risks may be scary, but that voice telling you to stop has no power anymore.  Be childlike and trust those around you in confidence that nothing they can do will destroy you.


From Childish to Childlike: You’re On Your Own Now (?)

As a child, I would always look back at my mom before doing anything.  If an older person asked me a question, I would look back at my dad for an answer.  If my friend wanted to come over, my eyes would avert to my mom, who would give me the okay.  When I was in high school, I had to ask permission from my mom to go anywhere. I would have to tell her where I was going, what I would be doing, and how long it would take.

From a young age, I longed for the opportunity to go overseas.  I wanted to travel the world and write about my experiences.  I waited for the chance to make my own decisions.  As a child, since I was not wise enough to make my own decisions, I depended on the will of my parents.

Yesterday, my mom and I were driving to visit my grandpa.  My mom told me that since I was a little girl, I always had peace and confidence in myself, so she knew that I would travel the world someday.  I looked at her, surprised.  “Does that mean I can overseas?” I asked.  “Of course.  You just graduated from college.  You’re own your own now.”  At that moment, my mom told me the words I had always wanted to hear.  I am free to go wherever I want.  There are no limits.  I am on my own.

From the time we are able to speak, we are trained to learn how to live without the help of others. Our ultimate prize is buying our own homes and having our own incomes.  We learn to think for ourselves, and we are taught to fight to uphold our own arguments.  Our parents bring us to daycare or school so that we could gain an education away from our homes.  This encourages us to one day leave the nest and have our own jobs.  We wait for the day when we can say, “I’m on my own now.”

After pondering this statement, I began to wonder: is independence really a true sign of maturity?  Although all of these are all good things, living with the help of others is not childish.  Sure, we may need to break free from the finances and shelter of our parents, but we are not supposed to live life completely alone.

Unfortunately, I believed that I was supposed to do everything on my own for longer than I would like to admit.  I was afraid of asking for help, and I boasted whenever I accomplished any task by my own strength.  Despite the smile on my face, I desperately desired the help of others. I desired someone to help me carry my burdens with me.  I knew that if I asked for help, I would look like a failure or a drama queen, so I kept my mouth shut.

Going to a small college changed my mindset about asking for help.  My classmates and I were like a family, holding doors open for each other and eating together at dinner.  My friends would ask me about my day, their eyes shining with curiosity.  Eventually,  I opened up to them.  I told them my mistakes, my concerns, my fears, and my faults.  They walked alongside me, helping me get back on my feet and figure out my life.

In the Bible, James writes that we do not have because we do not ask (4:2).  Instead, God promises to strengthen us and help us (Isaiah 41:10); all we have to do is ask.  We can ask for help from God as well as from our friends.  Ecclesiastes 4 says that it is better to have someone help you when you fall than to be alone.  Your friends will listen to your problems, successes, and failures and help you to live in a mature way.  Mentors and people in authority can give you wise counsel.  They can see an outside perspective of the situation so that you can make better decisions.

I am excited about having the freedom to go where I want.  However, I do not need to burn bridges just because I am growing into maturity.  As a matter of fact, I need the encouragement and admonishment of other people in order to fully thrive.  I am so thankful for the people that have brought me through college, and I look forward to meeting (or continuing to know) the people that will help me in this next season of my life.

Asking for help is not childish.  Be childlike, and ask for help whenever you need it.  You will be surprised at how much you can grow with the help of your friends, family, and colleagues.