I believe the definition of maturity could be “when your private life is the same as your public life”. What I mean by this is that our lives have a public side and private side. Our public side usually shines the brightest and is on its best behavior. It smiles, it serves, it loves and it gives. But our private lives are frequently lived differently. Our spouses and children may see our private lives. Do they see our best side or our worst? Do we stop “acting Christ-like” when we are at home? Because we are relaxed and tired when we are at home, we sometimes forget to be kind or forgiving. We sometimes don’t keep a positive attitude. Why is this?
Our public lives can be our stage on which to perform. This is where the applause results. We are paid for work or given a pay raise or an award. We are on our best behavior and have schooled ourselves to be patient with impatient people (or should try). If we are volunteering in a church, we similarly bring our best to that place (as we should).
But our private side of life is also who we are. This is the part we frequently forget to maintain. Maintaining our private lives takes time as much as grooming for our private lives. Some symptoms of an unmaintained soul are anger and unforgiveness or apathy and withdrawal.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
The first step to soul maintenance is to take time to be quiet enough to examine your thoughts and actions and ask God to show you why you acted that way? Here are some possible things to consider.
- Am I living to please God or others?
- Am I not tending my spiritual walk with God?
- Am I too busy and not taking enough time to just “be”?
- Do I have enough margin in my life or am I taking on too many things?
- Is my self-esteem in doing or am I confident in who I am?
One of the first things you can do to start the process of maturity is to be sure to take some time every week to evaluate and pray about your own life and behavior. This is not merely planning the week of items to be accomplished. This is examining your soul (your thoughts and emotions) and spirit (your walk with God). Journaling is one way to examine your thoughts. Praying is the best way to allow God to examine your spirit.