In less than favorable circumstances we have options:
1. Toddler tantrum: Scream, whine, and cry tears –our tears can be so convincing. Stop breathing till I’m red in the face and some poor soul runs to my aid to make sure I’m not dying. I was never dying, I just wanted attention, and to get my way… and, oh look, it works like a charm. Church people are always so nice and believe a good story.
2. Teenage tantrum: I am utterly convinced that I am the victim of other people’s self-centeredness or lack of care, so full of self-pity, I always blame everyone else for my circumstances. I often seek to control and get what I want through moods or pouty sulking. If that doesn’t work, I may withdraw and isolate: “People will feel my absence. They’ll know I’m upset…” (This is passive-aggressive manipulation). When I act like a self-sacrificing-humble-martyr, feining humility, I usually get people to listen to me, and then I can excuse my behavior and convince others I’m innocent because it’s always another persons fault.
3. Take it to the Lord to get His perspective. Willingly lay aside pride, be vulnerable and honest before the Lord, ask:
- Lord, how do You see this?
- What do You want here?
- How do You see me in this?
- What is my responsibility?
- Do I need to confess my own failure, or sin?
- Do I need to repent?
- Do I need to forgive someone?
- Does resentment or bitterness lurk in my heart?
- Is there something I need you to heal in me?
This (#3) is “Christian-adulting.” It has nothing to do with biological age, or whether a person is an actual adult. A person can be married with kids, or even grandkids, and yet still behave like a spiritual toddler.
“Christian adulting” is spiritual maturity, it’s being responsible before the Lord for me, all of me!
My decision to own everything about me is the start of my life becoming deeply rooted in Christ’s reality–God’s Truth, not some perversion of Truth. My thoughts are mine. My decisions are mine, and so are the consequences. My behaviors are mine. I will not blame anyone else for me. I will not hide behind anyone for my comfort, pride, or security. I will not seek validation from others for my “stuff”.
If we behave like toddlers or teenagers in relationships we will remain spiritually immature–it’s our choice. But our character development stalls because we chose self-defense, control, manipulation, and relational-irresponsibility. We fail to build a strong foundation of Truth in our lives.
The decision to own my “stuff,” to be responsible for me, is the place of authentic and deep repentance. This is the beginning of the walk into freedom in Christ. And the beginning of spiritual maturity. It is akin to the man who dug deep to build his house upon the rock–which is Christ (Matthew 6:48)–because by “owning me” I am inviting God to go deep into me, to root out all that is broken and false, and to build a solid foundation of Truth in me.