Often I feel like being a grownup is over-rated. I see people who think it means the fun is zapped from your life. I certainly don’t believe that….if you do it correctly, the fun increases, as does your ability to create fun in most life situations. You learn life is short….and you want to make it good. Being a grownup should make life easier, and better.
I’ve been thinking a lot about maturity lately, though. There just seem to be a lot of adults around that don’t seem to have gained much of it in their lifetimes. When can you tell where it is lacking? Look for the drama.
What do I consider drama? Responding to life in ways that make you appear to be a hormone-controlled adolescent. Oh, I remember those days well. Going home from school and laying on my bed crying for no reason….or a stupid reason. Saying “I hate you” to anyone who didn’t make me happy at the moment. Trying to play games to get my own way….and not grasping why everyone didn’t understand that the “rules” I expected others to abide by, didn’t necessarily apply to me. Silly thoughtless pranks, words that cut, making decisions solely to hurt those who have hurt me. Remember?
When you are an adolescent, your changing hormones sometimes control your body. Our body chemistry always controls human beings to a degree. We are pre-disposed to certain things – some to anger, some to tears, some to stuffing everything inside until we blow, some to depression and mania, some to perfect calm. While some of these body fluctuations change and settle down as we get older, some stay with us forever. The difference between an adolescent and a grown-up? These changes are new to the adolescent and we need to gently teach them how to manage them, and apply a lot of grace when they get it wrong. An adult should have somewhat mastered the art.
As you age, you should get better at exercising self-control. You should know yourself well enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. You should get help for things you can’t manage yourself….and know that sonetimes asking for help is the greatest show of strength. You should realize life just isn’t all about you and your feelings. While it is natural to see and respond to the actions of others, at the heart of our thought life should always be “So, what am I doing wrong here?” Your biggest God-given responsibility is always the person you are becoming. That is where you have choices. That is where you can make the biggest difference in this world. Most often the choices of others are out if your control….and you should keep them there.
Life in itself has a lot of drama. People get sick. People die. People get married. People get divorced. People wrong us. People love us. People make bad decisions. People make good decisions. People win. People lose. People triumph. People fall.
When life happens, there doesn’t have to be a scene. You don’t have to make everything a dramatic event…or make the dramatic events of others your dramatic event. You don’t show your love any more when you do. In fact, you often show your own selfishness – you make their issues about you.
You don’t have to condemn. You don’t have to be the angel of righteousness. You don’t have to be the Holy Spirit. Others hold down those jobs and responsibilities….and they are better at it than you.
Because you are hurt or scarred by others, does not mean your best place to reside is in the crux of that. And because you love someone, you don’t have to solve their problems for them. If you’re spending too much time thinking on their issues, or worrying about them, you’re probably neglecting your own purpose. Offering a hand up when someone falls down is usually the right thing to do. Carrying them around on your back when they have legs that work, is taking everything a bit too far.
The emotions that come when someone wrongs us are natural. They become wrong when we let them control our future. We are all “done wrong” at some point in life. Forgiving and moving on does not mean they were right….it means your future is not controlled by their actions. I’ve been told some unbelievable stories of forgiveness during my time on this earth. What’s interesting is that if you watch their lives, you can easily see these true forgivers are people of power. Those who stay victims stay weak. Often forgiving is not a one-time decision….it is a constant process until it no longer controls us. Until it no longer has power in our lives.
It’s weird to me when I see hatred directed at people from someone who has wronged them. This is something I want to study a bit more…..I just don’t understand it. My thought is “So you did this to them, what gives you the indulgence to hate?” I know there have probably been times in my life where people looking on my life thought the same thing about me. Splinter, meet plank. I figure studying this may demonstrate that to me more. But I am willing to face the pain if seeing that plank in my eye so I can change me. So I can see truth better. I read something recently that was talking about people evaluating other people…. it said our opinion says much more about us than it does about those we evaluate. It made me start looking inward a bit more when I find myself “evaluating.”
As we reflect on our plan to get our life on an emotionally even keel…and I can tell you that from my experience, living life mostly in balance does make life better….we have to consider the feelings of others around us. Sometimes those feelings won’t be rational to us – they are looking at the world through a different lens, that has been distorted by their own set of problems and experiences, and body chemistry. They act out of pain, out of fear, out of emotion….just as we do, but yet differently. Or maybe not so differently, and that is why we combust when together. We see in others that in ourselves that we hate or fear.
Life should be more fun as we grow up, because we learn the art of self-control. We learn to mind our own business, and have faith that others will work out their own challenges without our taking over or acting as their avenging angel. We should roll our eyes a bit at the drama…and get to the business of enjoying our life and employing our purpose. Remember all those things that we thought were so important and dramatic in our past? Many of them are now just a blip in our life experience. Not even enough to register as life-changing. Almost amusing because of the energy we devoted to them. We can see now how those around us (those we probably considered our best friends during that time) threw gasoline on the fire to make it even more spectacular, instead of handing us a bucket of water to put out the flames. They may have been well meaning but dead wrong in their approach. They added to the destruction instead of helping us rebuild.
So how are you doing? Are you living your life now as a grown-up or a child? It’s a choice. And one that will impact the quality of your life and the lives of others. Life is short….make it good. Find peace and purpose. Be a fireman…..not an arsonist.