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Like fighting Hell with a firebrand… some thoughts on maturity

September 11, 2009

While I believe it is far better to age with grace than to fight aging with immaturity, maturity isn’t something I’ve actually worked awfully hard to cultivate. I value maturity in others, at least to the extent that it doesn’t subvert whimsy, although I may sometimes feel abraded around superior-being mature people who remind me of my failure to mature. By my reckoning, maturity is largely a matter of sanctification anyway, so it’s kind of off my docket.

Maturity is fairly easy to compartmentalize in one’s life. It is possible to deal maturely with money and finances while dealing immaturely with relationships, for instance, but I think maturity is usually a package deal. Of course, some people are slobs in every sphere of life, and such people are comprehensively immature. I think maturity is often considered synonymous with taking responsibility for people and things outside of oneself, but I tend to think that maturity is more in line with taking responsibility exclusively for oneself, which would include all of those people and things for which one is rightly responsible. Conflict will come when notions of “rightly responsible,” and precisely which particular people and things have been assigned to one’s sphere of responsibility, differ.

I could make a case for the absurdity of the paradox of “mature audiences,” because mature audiences would not attend the movie designed to appeal to their presumptive namesakes. Blog readers are provided an opportunity to report mature language or content, and of course such content would belie maturity. It takes a fair amount of immaturity to earn the label “mature.”

I believe Christian maturity refers to an individual whose life the Spirit of God has informed with his means of grace into a Christian presentation that glorifies Christ as the Author of the individual’s sanctification. But if someone tells me what a mature Christian he or she is, my mouth does its little autonomic wry-grin thing.

If I were a mature, highly evolved thinker on the subject, I would research maturity and write a leading comprehensive essay to prove my merit. But I’m whimsical and frivolous, and I have other responsibilities, so I’m through here.

  1. September 12, 2009 6:01 am

    Lauren it was nice to read through the blog in my reader this morning, and I found the definition of maturity helpful, as regards learning to take responsibility for those things that are in our sphere of responsibility. A friend once pointed out to me that Christ could never have said, ‘I have finished the work that thou gavest me to do’ if He had done all the work there was to be done (many sick people left unhealed, many with demons still, etc) or all the work that everyone else wanted him to do. It’s good to define priorities in the circumscribed sphere God has given us so that we can say the same, and also so as not to ‘stand in’ for Him in any way elsewhere.

  2. September 12, 2009 6:33 am

    Heidi, thank you for your beautifully articulated reminder in your last sentence. Defining these priorities, I think, is my greatest challenge.

  3. September 12, 2009 6:54 am

    Lauren, that last part has been difficult for me this past year, and then to have to sort through the mish mash of demands when my understanding of what God has given me to do is so unreliable. I grow increasingly grateful for Proverbs 31 — though I really can’t do all the things she does — it has all the principles. It’s such a balancing act to learn not only where the responsibility lies but to carry it out with compassion, industry, joy, rectitude, kindness, etc; but the focus there somehow though not simplistic yet simple and that helps me.

    Incidentally I’ve been meaning to tell you — you can see the latest annual photo of us two if you click on the link appended to my name in this comment :-).

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