Do you ever wonder what happens to us when we become "mature" Christians? What changes? How do we get there? How did others get there?
A few things come to my mind when I think "mature" Christian:
- long walk with God
- enduring in faith through life's ups and downs
- in the Word every day
- praying for hours at a time
- faith that is calm (in contrast to the "fiery" and exuberant faith of a new believer)
- bored and boring (yes, I said it!).
There is a part of me that admires and aspires to be like the women I know who have walked with God for what seems like forever. But there is this tiny part of me that whispers, "Please Lord, don't let it be boring!"
Maybe you remember my prayers for the year of 2009? I prayed for God to unsettle me. I asked Him not to let me get too comfortable. He answered, and answered, and answered, and answered again!
This year, I began praying that the Lord would consecrate me (make me holy and set apart for His purposes). I didn't want to settle for a faith that was simply "good enough." But in the back of my mind I was also reminding Him that I didn't want to be bored (or boring).
For a short time, I let my heart drift away from His. I was bored AND boring. I had created my own little self-fulfilling prophecy (think that it will be lackluster and you will surely end up disinterested). But I was not, as I feared, uninspired because of maturity. I grew apathetic because I was slowly emptying of that which fills me - His Spirit. What little of Him I had inside of me was seeping out through my many cracks. As those cracks are pieced back together, and I feel the filling up happening again, things* are happening.
Guess what - deciding to be a "grown up" in the faith is far from humdrum! No, I sense that I am about to embark on an escapade of God-sized proportions!
I suspect that maturity is not tedious at all, but that it comes from maintaining a sense of peace, faith, and trust while riding life's ups and downs, over and over again. I am beginning to realize that the quest to become established and settled is probably one of the most adventurous journeys we can embark on!
No one is ever bored on a roller coaster! Some people - those familiar with its nausea-inducing motion - may appear a bit blase as they take their hundredth loop-de-loop, but we must be careful not to mistake their composure for apathy. If we were to hook them up to a biometrics machine, the heart rates of the experienced rider would be no slower than the shrieking 13-year-old boy's in the front row. Their composure is gained by holding fast, practicing lots, and the total faith (that comes with much experience) of knowing that they will not fall.
* things defined: life's ups and downs; stretching; growing; finding oneself in need of God's amazing provision; praying; seeking; obeying in spite of obstacles and doubt
In other words, not a single prayer said on our behalf would be wasted right now!