Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Real Maturity

Have you watched much TV lately? Ever listen to the conversations of fellow students or workmates? I really am sick and tired of immaturity displaying itself in perverted humor, over-sexualization, petty hatred and jealousy, vanity over looks and what so-and-so has that I don't, not to mention grudges that ruin people's lives in today's day and age. When have we entered "adulthood"? What is real maturity? I have noticed that even people that are 30-60 years of age still in many ways act like children if they don't get their way. I regularly read the news, or at least the media's opinion on the news, at best, and see human nature at its finest. Does wisdom really come with age? Do people really ever learn from their mistakes?

Mr. Rice's Notebook has a great discussion on emotional maturity (chapter 5). Mr. Rice was the mailroom manager at Ambassador College and gave regular Bible Studies to the students. Below is his list on several immature behaviors:
  1. Being moody and depressed too much of the time.
  2. Crying, pouting, losing temper and screaming over trivial matters.
  3. Being late for appointments or allowing pleasures to get in the way of school assignments or other responsibilities.
  4. Staying up too late at night when you should be getting your rest — then sleeping in too late for classes or work.
  5. Staying in bed and calling in sick when you feel a little tired or down, rather than disciplining yourself and putting your responsibilities first.
  6. Getting mad if you aren't the center of attention and the most popular person around. Or, getting irritated and insolent when you don't get your way.
  7. Being demanding of other people and feeling that they should cater to your desires and
    needs first.
  8. Buying on impulse — failing to consider the price, or whether you have the resources.
  9. Failing to say "NO" to yourself — giving in to your desires and wants without restraint —
    disregarding the consequences.
  10. Failing to reason out a situation or problem from beginning to end before making a
    decision — acting first and thinking later.
  11. Being easily influenced by others, instead of using your mind and making your own decisions.
  12. Daydreaming — wasting your time in a world of fantasy and make believe instead of
    thinking constructively.
  13. Reacting emotionally and falling apart in an emergency. Failing to collect your wits and act
    with a clearthinking head after the initial blow has passed.
  14. Finding fault with everything and everybody, instead of trying to get along with people. In
    other words, being generally negative and critical toward life.
  15. Using the excuse that since you're a woman and therefore more emotional (especially at
    certain times of the month), you don't have to keep your emotions in tow.
  16. Failing to take the blame or being too stubborn to admit it when you are wrong.
  17. Feeling inadequate and easily discouraged — particularly when associating with peers who
    are self-assured, multitalented and successful.
  18. Other general manifestations:
    a. Shyness — loner-type
    b. Fearful of taking new steps
    c. Impetuous
    d. Self-indulgent
    e. Insensitive and inconsiderate
    f. Whines, complains and cries easily
    g. Overly concerned with your health
    h. Moody, changeable, unstable
    i. Easily offended
    j. Accusing
    k. Competitive — win or else — always have to be first
    l. Argumentative and intolerant
    m. Impatient — everything must be "now" — never later
    n. Sarcastic and cynical
    o. Unable to be serious and level-headed
    p. Disorganized
    q. Unable to concentrate
    r. Irresponsible-and undependable

Do any of these apply to you? Several did to me. So what are we supposed to do about them? Well, first we must understand what emotions are. Mr. Rice states, "Emotion is the energy which makes the mind work — it supplies the energy for survival. Emotions — physical and mental feelings — are necessary for life and stimulate you to behave in a certain way. In that sense, we are all emotional people." Mr. Sena once stated in a sermon that knowledge may help us to understand a principle, advice, or even see a flaw in ourselves, but emotion is required to change it. Learning to hate sin, for example, helps us to eradicate it from our lives. Our love for God, parents and friends, on the other hand, cause us to want to do nice things for them.

The key, according to Mr. Rice, is channeling that emotional energy in the right direction. Let's say someone really ticks you off. Do the retaliatory actions course through your veins right past your brain and straight out your mouth? Or do you take the opportunity to think about whether your perfect comeback will, in fact, make the world a better place for you having said it (thanks, Marshall)? Mr. Rice covers a number of ways you can become more mature in your thinking. He states the following areas to begin with:
  1. Analyze yourself
  2. Grow in confidence and esteem
  3. Learn to discipline yourself
  4. Overcome self-consciousness
  5. Overcome self-centeredness
  6. Eliminate self-pity (self seems to be an issue, doesn't it?)
  7. Learn to be a good loser
  8. Don't be flippant and scatter-brained
  9. Select a mature model to follow (he uses Proverbs 31 for women)
  10. Learn to think before you verbalize your feelings (bingo for Mike)
  11. Learn to be flexible (not necessarily like a gymnast)
  12. Take control of your life and learn to be tolerant of others

I'm all about lists today, so here's what he states an emotionally mature individual's fruits are:

  1. Composed.
  2. Reserved.
  3. Purposeful.
  4. Has sense of values.
  5. Goals defined.
  6. Able to cope with crises.
  7. Cultured and refined.
  8. Able to control anger and settle differences.
  9. Patient.
  10. Determined.
  11. Capable of facing unpleasantness and frustration.
  12. Humble.
  13. Joyful and happy.
  14. Compassionate.

So there you have it. These really are keys to living life better with God-like character. Many of these characteristics are listed in Mr. Armstrong's list of 7 Keys to Success. Really, it's just letting go of the immature human-nature and taking on a godly maturity. I hope this helps, it sure has helped me.

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