It was a beautiful Spring morning in Clinton, Oklahoma, on the playground. Usually a happy child, I looked across the playground and spied my friends chatting near the entrance to the Junior High. I walked over to the bevy of girls, who had cool names such as Betty, Madonna, Mildred, etc. I wondered what they were talking about and approached them, asking, "What are you talking about?"
I still remember the disdain in their eyes, although that word didn't reside in my vocabulary then. And the pronouncement that has haunted me to this day came..."You're too young to know."
Indignantly I responded, "But we are the same age." I withered from the looks I received, and wandered away wondering what they were talking about. I quickly put it out of my mind, thinking that it probably wasn't worth hearing.
Move the life-clock forward...and I wondered 'if-I-was-old-enough'. Mother and I prepared to give a talk about Maturity at a church ladies' meeting. "Mom, how old do you feel?" Mom's answer, at 85 years old surprised me, "I still feel sixteen." I stared at Mom, realizing that at 63 years of age, I felt sixteen, too. We both giggled like school girls, like sixteen year olders.
Reflecting on that moment, I gained understanding that just because our bodies age, our spirit continues to flourish. We continue to think of responsibility and of the possibility in our lives.
I found these quotes concerning maturity:
“The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left.” Jerry WrightAlthough these quotes are wise and ponder-worthy, I can still see my Mom at 80 years old, dancing with excitement as she encounters a blessing, a new insight in the scripture or just the joy of life. Where did she find this joy? In her faith in Christ and living that faith, not in a vacuum, but in myriad of relationships of family and friends.
“A person's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play” Friedrick Nietzsche
“Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.” Joshua Liebman
“Maturity is that time when the mirrors in our mind turn to windows and instead of seeing the reflection of ourselves we see others.”
In contemplating what maturity consists of, I posted on Facebook. One of my former students from twenty years ago commented:
I suppose there are differing concepts of maturity to consider as well; some maturity (emotional and spiritual) is not a destination so much as an ongoing journey. Unfortunately progress isn't at a set rate of speed or increase, and not all individuals chose to undertake the difficult task of growth and the associated pitfalls; it is all too easy to remain mired in denial of either facet of life-- growing older but never up.This young man understands what maturity is all about. That it is a journey that is not completed until the last breath is drawn. Thank you, Wilbur!
Galatians 5:22-23 says (The Message)
But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.NIV - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The Fruit of the Spirit is the visible product in our lives that indicates living in the Spirit.
When we balance maturity in our lives, we see that our lives are many faceted. We wonder what to follow, who to follow and why. In this day, in our world, we must sift through many words to find the truth. The underlying and everlasting truth lies in our faith in Jesus Christ. In Him we can begin and continue on a journey to the maturity that counts. A spiritual maturity that makes life worth living. Along the path of life to maturity, the decisions we make each day determine our lives here on earth and our eternal destination.
Yes, Wilbur, maturity is a process and journey. The ultimate destination is a Forever.