I recently appalled myself by my attempts to get in shape. I have been using the excuse of being pregnant for, well, about 4 years now and at some point probably before my youngest graduates from high school, I need to stop using that excuse. I went to Crossfit after much prodding from my husband. It was not fun. I was, in fact, expecting it to be at least a little fun.
And this is the problem really. I expect to find some way of getting in shape that is, in fact, a little fun. Like I watch shows like American Ninja Warriors or see flyers for Rugged Maniac races and I think, hey that looks fun. I should do that. And then I get up from the couch to get a bowl of ice cream, because ice cream is fun.
We get the ole adage “no pain no gain” and we shake our heads and try to rationalize whatever failed attempts we make for ourselves. Our lives are filled with starts and stops. Thanks be to God that He is filled with starts and zero stops.
Much like our physical strength, our spiritual and emotional strength wavers. We get into ruts. We can’t admit our ruts. We don’t want to AND we don’t have the ability to. Because we’re immature.
Generally speaking, truly mature people are few and far between. Truly mature – emotionally and spiritually and mentally mature individuals. How do we even know if someone is? Here are some ways when I know someone isn’t… and that someone is usually me:
- I want people to think I’m mature.
- I talk without thinking more often than not.
- I don’t ask for help.
- I don’t think I need help.
- I haven’t asked for forgiveness lately from anyone.
- I haven’t spent significant, devoted time in prayer.
- I don’t engage in conflict well and/or avoid it because I think it’s better to move on.
- I actually believe I can move on.
- I haven’t spent much time considering my own intentions and motives in all my relationships and environments.
- At the end of the day, I’m ok with being immature.
Truth is that I don’t always want to grow up. It’s easier to be immature. It’s my comfort zone. I don’t want to be the adult in the room. I don’t want to be the level headed one. That’s just no fun. And we have seen an entire society devolve into people pointing fingers (a classic immature move) and complain bitterly about how everyone else is not meeting their expectations.
It reminds me of my 3 year old. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m not tired. I’m not hungry. I want to watch a show. I don’t want to clean up. The list goes on. My inner toddler comes out and I want to throw myself down on the ground and scream. I’m not going to say that I never have because that would be called lying. Technically.
I’m immature. No, wait. I’m not that bad. I just don’t really want to grow in grace because then I’ll be held to a different standard than a 3 year old. I don’t really want to know more of Jesus’ love for me because then I’ll be liable for the exact amount of love I have been shown. Don’t tell me about forgiveness or mercy. Don’t share the story of lost sons – I don’t want to fit into either story all that well, thank you.
I’m immature. I really am. And admitting that is treacherous. Admitting that I need to grow is The Worst. Because the ways I know growth works is not fun. And like a parent who watches her children make disastrous decisions based on their current emotional state, God knows what we’re going to do, He provides a better way, and through his Spirit sways our hearts, woos us to consider his ways, his love, his peace.
The longer I live the more convinced I’ve become that most of us really do know what we’re supposed to do most of the time. We just don’t. We don’t want to. We hate it. We hate the risk of losing our comforts and our pride and power. We hate it. And we’re afraid. So very afraid.
We have forgotten. We have forgotten the wilderness that grows God’s people. We have forgotten the taste of the kingdom we get at his table. We forget the Spirit poured out on us, or maybe we’ve never really felt it to begin with. We forget the glimpses of hope through changed lives – or own for starters – and we don’t listen to the reminders of God working still. And like a 3 year old who actually has the nerve to announce face down on the floor “You never let me have anything!” we shake our fists at God, in our ultimate sign of incredible immaturity, and refuse to let him work on us. Can’t you go work on someone else for awhile?
I repent of my satisfaction with my immature state. I repent of my ability to make excuses. I repent of the fact that I’d rather be left in my childish tantrums than to do the real work of being more like Jesus. I repent of the self-centeredness of my heart that refuses to see the beauty in dying to self and carrying my cross. I repent of loathing the wilderness and avoiding it at all costs. Forgive me, Jesus. Lead on, King and Savior and Friend.