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Maturity: What's the Big Deal?

What is it? We hear references from people all the time. "He is so immature" or "I wish they would just grow up!" On the positive side, we may hear "He is wise beyond his years."

I have found, in my own life, that I have used these words to describe my family members and myself. Being mature in the physical sense is used to describe someone Godly, or becoming older or reaching certain stages in life.

In the emotional sense, we regard maturity in people's reactions in life. These reactions to events and circumstances start early in life. Children are taught how to handle emotions like anger, jealously, fear, and grief from the adults in their lives. The children demonstrate what is passed on from the adults.

For example, growing up in my family, anger was not expressed or understood. I have to honestly admit that it took a lot of growth and maturity for me to learn to handle the emotion in a healthy and Biblical way. I must admit, my family says Amen to this change! A lot of damage was caused to my family and to myself as a result my anger and my immature way of handling this emotion.

There are also certain experiences in our daily lives that cause us to stretch our emotional maturity. For example, if a child or young person was violated youth by someone that should be there to protect them. To survive these experiences, children develop a protective and defensive mechanism. However, this very mechanism keeps them from maturing in their adulthood. These mechanisms could and do, many times, keep them from dealing with certain feelings and situations. A sort of frozenness in their capacity or ability and maturity often occurs.

A simplified definition of maturity is taking responsibility for my life and neither blaming nor making someone else responsible for it. I am responsible for my response to any and all experiences that come my way. I can't nor shouldn't blame others or use other excuses. Therefore, I shouldn't be manipulative in life or manipulate any person in my life to get a need met, even if the need is a legitimate one!

I can express my need in an honest way and trust God to meet that need in His way and in His timing. I realize that this seems easy to say. However, from personal experience in my daily endeavors with people, when we want or need something, we are often unwilling to wait for God to meet that need His way.

There is another side of the coin in being mature. This would not be allowing someone to use or manipulate you to get a need met in his or her life. It is equally difficult to say "no" to someone that you are meeting his or her need. However, you are stifling their creativity by not saying no. This has been a very difficult concept for me to grasp.

May God truly teach us and give us wisdom and discernment when it comes to what it means for us to be mature. Heb. 5:14: "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

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