Our little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little bit more. We know this will be the last opportunity to stroke such silky hair, to grasp such tiny fingers, and to hold such a tiny life in our arms – at least in the Tanksley family.

A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.

Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically. We pick up fears from the people around us. Something painful happens and we pull back inside and hide. The people who should be there for us somehow let us down, and we stop growing.

When we’re little our physical, emotional, and spiritual growth is up to others. Madelyn is completely dependent on others to feed, clean, and care for her. But if Mommy and Daddy are still feeding her ten years from now something’s wrong! At some point our growth and maturity become our own responsibility.

Here are a few questions to ask about your maturity in the “other” parts of your life:

Emotionally: Do I experience the full range of emotions, both positive and negative – joy, love, peace, hope, sadness, anger, fear? Do I have ways of managing my emotional life without either stuffing my feelings or letting them control me? Can I recognize when my emotional volume is increasing and take steps to deal with whatever’s going on?

Mentally: Am I willing to explore new ideas, new skills, new experiences? Do I welcome input from perspectives I have not considered in the past? Is learning still important to me?

Relationally: Can I both give and receive in my personal relationships? How am I doing on the qualities of generosity, unselfishness, and love? Can I allow people to be close to me without losing myself? Can I give of myself without neglecting self-care?

Spiritually: Have I wrestled with my foundational principles and values enough to truly call them my own? Is my connection with God both strong enough and flexible enough to be a source of strength in good times and bad times? What is the quality of my internal character?

Considering some of these questions makes even me feel like I have a long way to go. But I also know that it’s never too late to grow. I’m grateful for the maturity I have, and I’m still looking forward.

Enjoy every day you have, Madelyn. You’ve got a lot of growing to do!

Your turn: Have you found yourself more mature in some areas than others? What have you found that helps you grow? I’d love to hear from you!

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