Back in the day, when we were children, life seemed and felt carefree. We somehow assumed that our parents would promptly provide food, clothing and shelter — and they always did. It never crossed our naive minds that they hustled to achieve all these.
We were more concerned playing football and other games in the rain — remember the paper balls? Many of us also spent time telling on our siblings for their little misdemeanors. That was life.
It appeared easy to get anything because shouldering the burden for its acquisition was not ours to do.
Our minds concentrated on toys, games and friends and for those who had the privilege, the occasional eating out with family. We had no stress because we didn’t even know what that meant.
To a child, everything is fun and entertainment. The presumptuous nature of our childishness did not accord us the opportunity to feel the weight of responsibility. I think that if life doesn’t interrupt that kind of living, adults would still be living for self-entertainment at the expense of somebody else. The innocence of immaturity feels deceptively safe because somebody else takes responsibility for its folly. But really, responsibility is better than safety; responsibility is the custodian of peace and safety.
To be in charge of your life is to determine the direction, decision and the level of productivity that your life shall operate on. Immaturity almost always relegates this to somebody else and if it is up to someone else to determine the outcomes of your life, then a glass ceiling of limitations has inevitably been erected. To grow up is to set yourself up for unlimited possibilities, opportunities and rewards; albeit amidst hard work. But to mature requires much more than the passage of years; it demands the apprehension and maintenance of right perspective.
To mature is to arrive at the place where you can rightly choose between options and differentiate between what is right and what is needful right now. It is to be able to substantiate between what is urgent and what is important. The world of the mature is not governed by panic, fear, impatience or the need to be recognised. It is not dictated to by the desire to be seen, heard and noticed. What drives it is purpose, vision and the courage of self-leadership.
It is fenced by morality and ethics and not by selfishness and the prioritization of self-pleasure. Maturity is founded upon self-restraint and self-government and anchored by the statutes of what is right instead of who is right. American rabbi and best-selling author Joshua L. Liebman articulates this pretty well: “Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.”
In an overwhelming modern environment where bills, emotional pressure and social demands are ever on an upward trajectory, the strength of maturity is immensely needful. We really may never enjoy the best of life if we do not work hard and long enough to mature ourselves in every sphere of being. Emotional maturity, mental maturity and spiritual maturity are the safety nets of our existence.
Within them are the speed governors of excesses and the electric fence called conscious. It is not a favor we do other people when we grow up, it is a benefit we add to ourselves and a value we append to the advantage we must bring to those around us. And to gauge and appraise our growth in maturity should always top our list of our agendas as often as we possibly can.
It is maturity that sees adversity as the best friend and not an inconvenience to those who desire to do better. It sees problems as the ingredients that grow us. It understands that besides creating a hunger for answers to hard questions, crisis creates turning points. Maturity knows that to be defeated is a temporary situation; it is giving up that makes failure permanent.
It is maturity that demands that we show up at the place of vision and begin the excavation process at the grounds. And to get up and show up at that place of purpose is the proof that our belief in our ability is stronger than the pity we have for our weaknesses.
The fullness of life and the trappings of glory are waiting for you on the other side of maturity. To get there, a decision must be made to abandon childishness and to cut ourselves loose from the delusion of the false security in immaturity. To grow up is not optional: it is the food that success feeds on.