1. Choices and Consequences
Whether it’s choosing what to have for breakfast, who to marry, what school to go to, which book to buy, which friends to keep, which candidate to vote for, etc. -- we all have to live with the consequences of our choices.
But unfortunately, in certain situations, we have to live with the consequences of the choices other people make.
Some wrong choices have consequences that get more and more horrifying each day. To say it’s “unfair” is not only anemic but also a monstrous understatement. To say it’s “tragic” is probably a lot closer to reality.
However, no amount of negativism, cursing, sarcasm, vitriol, finger-pointing, or belly aching will change the consequences. Only God can change the ramifications of our wrong choices. And a downward spiral is often impossible to stop.
Thankfully, God gave us this verse which is one of the most powerful antidotes to whatever moral and mental sinkholes we’ve fallen into:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine)
In times of trials or triumphs (by the way, the latter closely follows the former, if we just trust and obey God), prayer is never a cop out. It’s our only way out.
2. Seven sure signs
One sure sign of maturity is the ability to praise someone other than yourself -- without a hidden agenda.
Second is having nerves of steel that are strong enough to build up someone superior to you -- in an area where you want to excel very, very badly.
Third is the ability to stop making innuendos about how someone hurt or betrayed you -- because you have truly forgiven them. Harping on past hurts is not only annoying but also immature. Get over it already.
Fourth is having the resilience to accept victory or defeat, success or failure, with grace and humility -- because you know that tomorrow is another day. And that in the grand scheme of things, someone is always superior or inferior to you.
Fifth is the ability to respect those whose opinions differ from yours -- especially if they’re under your authority. A boss who’s a termagant is definitely insecure and immature.
Sixth is having the graciousness to acknowledge those who’ve helped you succeed -- knowing you couldn’t have made it without them. It doesn’t make you look any less successful than you are.
And seventh is the capacity to be happy about someone else’s success, abilities, fine intellect, good looks, or good fortune -- without feeling envious or wallowing in self-pity.
Of course there are many more indicators of maturity. In fact, the indicators increase in number as we become more and more adept at handling failure or success -- being constantly aware that neither is permanent. Hence, it’s unwise to be snooty or suicidal.
As long as we’re alive, growing in maturity will always be an uphill climb. The more mature we become, the more aware will be that we have lots of room for personal improvement!