“We must learn to be kind to ourselves and the journey of maturity that we find ourselves on.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 6, 2023
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16, ESV
Recently, my 3-year-old nephew came to stay with us for a few nights while his parents were traveling. Though I have three children of my own, they are all entering into the later stages of childhood, and it has been a while since I was around such a young child for an extended period of time. Needless to say, I’d forgotten the amount of patience and energy required to care for such little ones!
At one point, I stumbled upon this young man expressing himself creatively with a colored pencil, treating the walls of my home as one giant canvas upon which to create! To be honest, my first instinct was to be frustrated with him, and I probably said something like, “Let’s only color on paper, okay buddy?” Yet at that moment, I had a thought that may apply to each of us and our own journeys of faith: it is an entirely unrealistic expectation to ask a 3-year-old to know not to color on walls.
Though each of us is meant to grow into something new, a deeper and more mature version of ourselves, we must have patience with the process of maturing. Just as I cannot be upset with a young child for simply being a young child, we must learn to be kind to ourselves and the journey of maturity that we find ourselves on. Yes, as St. Paul says in Ephesians 4, we are meant to “grow up in every way into him who is the head,” yet this growth doesn’t happen overnight!
Like a child on the way to adulthood, we too begin our life with Christ as infants, learning through the joys and challenges of life what it means to be a mature disciple. And while we should continue to stretch ourselves and open our lives more and more to the transforming grace of the Spirit, do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself, or for others. Trust that God is working in this season and loves you where you are, even as he invites you, in the timeless words of C.S. Lewis, “further up and further in.”
Father, help us to be kind to ourselves and receive your mercy as we journey toward mature manhood and womanhood, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways have you set unrealistic expectations for yourself or others?
Shane & Shane: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
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