As we were walking out the door after our final class for the semester today, one of my classmates asked me an interesting question: “What’s the key to reaching emotional maturity?”
After my initial reaction of “I don’t know – let’s find someone who’s reached it and ask them,” I came up with this:
Throw yourself into places where your heart could possibly be broken.
Embrace moments, socially and professionally, where rejection is a strong possibility.
Take a stand for something you believe in, even if it may strain relationships that are near and dear to you.
Find something you have believed in all your life and consider the possibility that the exact opposite is true.
And as you are doing all that, raise kids, love them more than you love life itself, and watch them go through all those same moments in life as you are only able to watch from a short distance away and at best, be a shoulder for them to cry on.
Emotional maturity isn’t something that’s taught in a classroom or read in a book. It’s not something we can wish on a star for our meditate into existence. It is something that is seared into our minds through the trials of life and handwritten on our hearts through the highs and hurts we endure.
As I thought through my response (and I’m still questioning my credibility on the subject), I was reminded to thank God for the hurts in my life; to see them as the refining fires that they are. And I was reminded to allow my kids the room to experience them; that if I am too active in protecting them from every trouble and trial, I may rob them of the opportunity to learn what it means to feel.
They are lessons I personally ran from for years. I’m grateful for the opportunities to keep learning them.