"Benedict's magna carta of humility directs us to begin the spiritual life by knowing our place in the universe, our connectedness, our dependence on God, for the little greatness we have. Anything else he says is to find ourselves is to find ourselves in the position of a "weaned child on it's mothers lap", cut off from nourishment, puny, helpless- however grandiose our images of ourselves- and left without the resources necessary to grow in the spirit of God. No infant child is independent of its mother weaned or not. No spiritual maturity can be achieved independent of a sense of God's role in our development." ( Herrick and Mann. Jesus Wept 1998 p. 70)
I wonder if any of us knows what it is to be truly mature? I am sure that we can point to times in our development when we have taken a step beyond our selfish selves that has set us on the road to maturity; but I suspect that for all of us maturity is a state of becoming, and that none of us have arrived.
I like the quote above, because one thing I am coming to realise that steps towards maturity require me to own up to my immaturity and my inability to change myself through my own strength. I need God and I need the help and encouragement and prayers of others to help me to take my next step on the journey. I need God to stretch me beyond myself....
As a teenager I was extremely shy, and extremely self reliant, I hated asking for help, and hated admitting that I did not know something! If I was asked to go shopping and could not find the item I was sent to purchase I would go home empty handed, anything was better than asking for help, even my mother's exasperation!
I am sure that I also joined the ranks of the world experts who have inspired bumper stickers such as:
ASK YOUR TEENAGERS NOW WHILE THEY STILL KNOW EVERYTHING!
And I have smiled at the story of a friend who said that at 16 he was surprised how ignorant his dad was, by the time he reached 21 he was amazed how much his dad had learned in 5 short years!!!!
I suspect many of us have been there and done that! Bought the T- shirt etc, and we smile at our past mistakes, but do we smile or even look so readily on todays shortcomings, do we own ourselves and have the courage to stand in our need and frailty before God?
I struggle with this, but I know the truth, without him I am nothing, and if I am to continue on this journey towards maturity then I need to be vulnerable to myself, to others and to God.....
This post is part of a synchroblog on maturity, other posts on the same subject can be found on these blogs:
Lainie Petersen at Headspace with "Watching Daddy Die"
Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head with "what's inside the bunny?"
John Smulo at JohnSmulo.com
Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse with "the future is ours to see: crumbling like a mountain"
Bryan Riley at Charis Shalom
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church with "Maturity and Education"
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Bethany Stedman at Coffee Klatch with "Moving Towards True Being: The Long Process of Maturity"
Adam Gonnerman at Igneous Quill with "Old Enough to Follow Christ?"
Joe Miller at More Than Cake with "Intentional Relationships for Maturity"
Jonathan Brink at JonathanBrink.com with "I Won't Sin"
Susan Barnes at A Booklook with "Growing Up"
Tracy Simmons at The Best Parts with "Knowing Him Who is From the Beginning"
Joseph Speranzella at A Tic in the Mind's Eye with "Spiritual Maturity And The Examination of Conscience"
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules with "What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity"
Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations with "post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa"
Steve Hayes at Khanya with "Adult Content"
Ryan Peter at Ryan Peter Blogs and Stuff with "The Foundation For Ministry and Leading"
Phil Wyman at Square No More with "Is Maturity Really What I Want?" Kai Schraml on Mature virtue