Admit it. Our lives suck sometimes. You study for a career. You work years at a job. Invest your time and talents to earn a living. You play hard. Spend money on your hobbies and tech toys. And you wonder why you feel unfulfilled.
Ditto for me.
In Which I Rant
How much time, talent, and study do you invest toward being a good parent, grandparent, spouse, and friend throughout your life? I’m guessing not much. At least in comparison to your career and hobbies.
Parenting, grandparenting, spousing, and friending are arenas that suffer because we don’t want to invest in something that should—supposedly—come naturally.
Oh yes, we attend a few marriage seminars, read a few books, or get counseling, but after we’ve pretty much lived life we figure we know it all. Until faced with our own ugly sin nature—often revealed in anger, bitterness, criticalness, whining, or self-focused wound pampering.
Yes, some of us whine. A lot. *guilty sigh*
We’re called to be Jesus first to our family and friends. This isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen automatically because we go to church or claim to be a Christ follower. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is.
The parenting, spousal, and friendship roles morph as we grow older, and chances are we will knowingly or ignorantly struggle to relate to an adult child who isn’t emotionally mature yet. Probably because we aren’t emotionally mature either.
And then the grandchildren come. And we don’t have the energy we once did. We have to take them in small doses or we become the snarly Grandma/Grandpa. And we feel bad. And our friends are all snarly too. Not good.
And somewhere in there your spouse is lonely, waiting for you to grow up and become like Jesus who laid his life down for his bride.
And have to grow up
At some point, you realize that you really do have to take responsibility for your immaturity and unhealthy emotions. You have to grow up. Even if you aren’t sure what that looks like.
Some choose not to grow up. They grumble and growl and forget that Jesus is still in the business of dealing with their stuff. (The most immature people I meet in ministry are those who are content to live with their bad moods, opinionated attitudes, and rude ways of dealing with family and other folks. Unfortunately, that’s been me at times.)
So how do you grow up?
Simple. Get closer to Jesus.
You can’t grow without Jesus as your source for growth. Remember you’re the branch. He’s the vine—the source for brittle branches. Here’s how to tap into your Source:
- Put effort and time into talking with Jesus about how you relate to those you love (and don’t love). Pray. Be vulnerable before the Father, and let him teach you how to parent, friend, and spouse.
- Study the Scriptures with fresh eyes. Look for change clues for yourself—not how someone else needs to change. Study like you did in college—only this time in the Word where the living Word can nail your hide to the wall. Then do what the Word says.
- Get in real accountability with a friend who isn’t afraid to challenge, correct, and get in your face about your immaturity—someone who knows how to encourage and pray with you.
- Apologize. Forgive. Obey. And grow. Up.
OK, end of rant. So what do you think?
- Why is growing up so hard to do?
- What unhealthy emotions and attitudes do you need to take before Jesus?
Growing with you, Susan
“Jesus likes it when we share.” -Adelaide, age 3: Pass this along to everybody and their brother. OK, maybe not everybody’s brother, but you know . . . all of your friends would be nice.
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Susan, I love this. Four concrete stepping stones in our journey to personal change. Prayer (Us talking to Jesus), The Word (Jesus talking to us), Accountability (Wisdom and strength from others to help us when we aren’t strong enough). Oh–and to quote, “Apologize. Forgive. Obey. And grow. Up.” And implementing all these things causes a craving for even more– more change and a deeper relationship with our Lord. Will be sharing this. 🙂 Ruth
Thanks for summarizing so concretely, Ruth. Well said and easy to remember. Funny how the hard stuff draws you into Jesus in such a way that you want more. Definitely not the way of the world.
Hard stuff. But worth it. Stuff that changes the things that really scare you about yourself. Because it is Jesus that is doing the changing.
Blessings to you. And thanks for sharing the post.