Saturday, June 13, 2009

Called to Adulthood WITH Childlike Faith

What is the meaning of this life--at least as far as our lives are concerned? Surely you must’ve pondered this question every once in a while? I ask myself most days it seems... what am I here for? What is my purpose, today?

The closest I’ve come to in answering this question is reflected in the abovementioned title.

It seems to me there are reminders all over the world, in every possible way, and certainly in the way life always seems to play out. Clue: we get rewarded for patience, kindness and self-control (i.e. virtue), yet we’re punished for laziness, greed and gossip (i.e. vice). One’s an adult schema and the other, distinctly childish.

Note, for instance, the behaviour you’ve engaged in over the past 24 hours--there will be thousands of actions. Every single action, and every thought and decision that preceded the action, was characterised by being either mostly adult-oriented or mostly child-oriented.

Yet, we plain don’t get it. Most of us are ‘grown ups,’ right? Most of us will have matured physically; grown to height, having breasts, deeper voices, pubic hair and the like... that’s not what I’m talking about.

The reality is most of us find acting like children easier and more fun, but it gets us into trouble when we’re living like that in a distinctly adult world of business, law, science and commerce. But, enter the paradox...

What is so bizarre is the dualist adult-child principle that is now introduced. One cannot embark further on maturity without totally embracing a childlike, accepting faith. Indeed, it is the godly part of unconventional wisdom which ‘chips up’ the capacity to not only act adult, but to realise faith into the bargain.

Let’s first discuss what it means to be adult.

Acting Adult

Acting like an adult is not easy but it gets easier with practise, thought, training; all equalling focus. There are at least six discreet ways we can demonstrate adult thought, speech and behaviour. It’s by being:

Reasonable – we can be reasoned with and are reason-able. We seek common ground with others in reason. If we’re regularly being indifferent, or doing so for any extended time, we’re not being reasonable.

Rational – similar to the logical characteristic below, but this is measured, somehow knowing the right amount of, or in things and situations. If our adding up of things and situations is off we’re, of course, being irrational.

Reliable – we can be consistently relied upon. We’re planned, coordinated, on time, on budget. This no doubt involves discipline. I know seventy year olds that have mastered the other five, yet not this one.

Responsible – we can make healthy responses as we are response-able. Beyond our own selfish drives and desires, responsibility is the routine detachment of self to the gain of the shared, collective goal.

Realistic – the opposite of this would be fanciful. At the risk of not getting our own way we remain realistic of the present ‘real’ reality, and not simply of our own reality.[1]

Logical – we have the capacity for straight logic and we see things--as they’re working out--for what they are. This is seeing the reality in and through process, not simply seeing the logical end result. The means justifies the end and vice versa.

Adult behaviour is about having checked emotions. It’s having the emotional intelligence to be able to become aware of the situation and then truthfully absorb the emotion that comes with it, before converting that stimulus into a mature product in our dealing with others.

This way we sift the negative and destructive components of raw emotion by placing it in our adult-emotionally-intelligent-sieve, and what comes out of the sieve is clean, usable, positive information that can be used to dynamic, loving effect.

The Child’s Faith / Childlike Faith

To be able to accept things carte blanche is a key ingredient in not only faith, but also in the mix of mental, emotional and spiritual maturity. To question is okay, but it must lead quickly to an eventual unconditional acceptance of God-presented truth.[2]

The Purpose to Life (Called to Adulthood with Childlike Faith)

The purpose to life is become mature. Not simply physically mature. That happens without any real effort on our behalf. We must become emotionally and spiritually mature. And this is facilitated, at least in some ways, by the process of mental maturation.[3]

Maturity augments the capacity for adult behaviour as well as a childlike faith--and it’s the other way around also. As we approach the destination, the closer we get, the more it is confirmed by God that this is indeed our purpose for being here. Everything we do that is truly godly comes from this adult basis that’s supplemented by the childlike faith.

God’s blessings reside in the realm of the adult, but he requires a childlike faith in helping us get there.

And when we add both of these, not only are we able to approach true salvation, we’ll get to taste true success (which is not success as the world defines it) for ourselves for the very first time.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] It is common in our post post-modern world for people to call their reality, reality. Reality, in the truest sense of the word, can only ever be what is actually real for everybody or at least most people in any given context.
[2] Doubt serves no good purpose once a decision has been made. Constant indecisiveness is bound for disaster. If, on the other hand, the wrong decision has been made, it should be righted; but a continual rocking back and forth on ‘truth’ will court ruin. Patterned indecision is folly.
[3] Mental maturation, like emotional and spiritual maturity, is a journey without a destination, apart from our potential. The further we develop the higher we realise is our potential. For who has ever reached their potential?

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