Do you ever feel like you are younger than you actually are? In my mind I’m about 10-12 years younger than the year on the calendar indicates. Even at 41, I still feel like I’m in my late 20s to early 30s. Why don’t I feel completely “grown up”?
Is it because I still go to my mom for advice? Is it because I don’t want to acknowledge the wrinkles around my eyes or the greys in my hair? (Actually I acknowledged them to the point of highlights—I just haven’t accepted them!) Is it because I still like the taste of Kraft Mac & Cheese—even with its super processed powdered cheese!? Is it because I feel like we should have more of a nest egg in the bank than we currently do? Is it because I can fit into my youngest son’s t-shirts?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to go back 10 years to relive that time in my life. One time through is enough. My past has shaped me and made me who I am. It’s by God’s grace and mercy that I’ve made it this far. Yet, I wonder, when exactly does one start feeling like an adult?
What if God doesn’t ever WANT us to feel completely mature? When I was a child I believed adults had all or most of the answers. They typically know what to do in given situations—how to act or how to speak. They handle responsibility well and make sound decisions.
However, if we, as adults, have all the answers for the really hard questions, there would be no need for God. If you could easily justify the sudden loss of a loved one, or know exactly what to say to a friend whose husband cheated on her, then we wouldn’t run to God with our pain. It’s when we turn to God that we grow spiritually and in our relationship with him. Only God can comfort us with peace beyond understanding.
You may have heard the adage that there’s a God-shaped hole in all of us. There’s a place, a need, a desire, that only God can fill. I believe that’s what keeps us from feeling completely adequate in all circumstances.
The Bible is full of verses encouraging us to turn to and trust God. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Verse 11 in 1 Chronicles 16 reminds us to “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
When we seek the Lord, he gives us what we need—wisdom, peace, words— regardless of our age or our earthly maturity. Furthermore, the number on the calendar doesn’t make much difference when you look at life in relationship to eternity. Philippians 3:20 reminds us that “Our citizenship is in heaven.” Rather than looking for answers based on wisdom we gain from this world, we should lean into God, his word, and seek answers that point us, and others, towards Christ. This is how we gain spiritual maturity and nurture relationship with God our Father.
As Walt Disney once said, “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” I don’t ever want to fully rely on my physically mature, sinful self, but on Him who has started a good work in me and will see it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6). I pray that we never feel so wise in our life experiences that we stop relying on God, but that we always keep a sense of wonder that draws us continually to him.