Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
You can’t learn maturity from a book. Maturity is learned on the go. Seeing the behavior of those who are moving ahead of you and who have shown resiliency while maintaining high joy and shalom, and sharing these with you.
All authentic learning is way more imitation than it is information. To grow in maturity is to be a person worth imitating. God is calling us to grow up. Let’s look at the levels of maturity as taught by Dr. Wilder that move us toward being people capable of enduring hardship well.
First there is infant maturity.
Infants are good at letting you know they are upset.
Crying because they are hungry, tired, dirty diapers, lonely, or they are hurt.
But they won’t tell you why. It is your job to figure it out. Then, it is your job to take care of what they need.
In his decades of research and counseling, Dr. Wilder estimates about 70% of men are operating at an infant level of maturity most of the time.
So, folks who live primarily at a infant level of maturity are also leaders in business, education, churches, and schools. They can be the key shot callers in the family. These folks get an “A” for being upset. They are experts at upset, but they receive an “F” for relationship building.
If I am operating at an infant maturity level, my job is to let you know how upset I am, your job is to figure out why and to fix it.
Child maturity moves beyond infant level maturity and I learn to care for one other person. Myself.
Dr. Wilder says about 70% of women have moved beyond infant level maturity to child maturity, but unfortunately, they get stuck there.
Infants move to child maturity when they learn to take care of one person. Themselves. But, they don’t focus on anyone else. So, child maturity is all about manipulation to get you to do what I want. Children are experts at trying to get you to do what I want. Adults stuck in child maturity are, as well.
In child maturity, my job is to tell you what I want.
You job is to do it.
And I am going to use fear, anger, and shame to get you to do it.
I have mentioned Dallas Willard’s definition of maturity.
Your maturity is measured by how you respond when you don’t get your own way.
So, here’s the thing. The vast majority of the adults you are in contact with from day to day have not gone beyond child maturity. Most leaders are infants or children when it comes to maturity. So are many of us at one time or another.
Whenever people get upset, the vast majority of the time they are operating at infant or child maturity level. Just turn on the news at any time and you will see that the response to suffering, conflict and struggle is being done by people operating at an infant or child level maturity.
Do you want a quick test? Watch how people drive. Watch how people act anywhere when they are inconvenienced, even a little.
Was this a bit uncomfortable to read? Do you see some of this in you? God desires for us to make progress.