In my mom’s last year with Alzheimer’s, she rarely knew my sisters or me. At times, my immature self would get irritated with her confused look, and I wanted to yell, “How can you not know me? I’ve been your daughter for fifty-five years!” But my mature self always stepped in and took over. I reminded Mom—again—who I was, wrapped my arms around her, and asked what I could do to help.
Even when I didn’t feel like it, I knew it was the right choice.
We have opportunities every day to make mature or immature choices in our stepfamily relationships. Sometimes we have a split second to consider how we’ll respond. It might require a quick prayer to ask for God’s help first.
But even when we don’t feel like it, a mature response is the right choice, every time.
Author Peter Scazzero says, “It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” Too often, we check off the boxes of spirituality that make us feel we’re living a good Christian life.
We read our Bible.
We help with mission work.
We go to church, and perhaps even sing in the choir.
But if someone followed us around and watched how we treated others in our own family, our emotional maturity might not match the spiritual maturity we claim through our Christian work.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
Responding in kindness when your stepchild snarls at you doesn’t come naturally. Self-control in the midst of a heated argument takes intentional effort. Offering a smile when you want to throw out a scowl takes a moment of self-reflection.
It’s easier to read the Bible than follow its directives. We’ll gain more joy from singing in the choir than helping a grumpy stepchild with his homework. We’d rather volunteer at the shelter than work through conflict in our home.
But we’re not called to only carry out acts of spiritual maturity. We’re also called to walk in emotional maturity with those around us.
A heart that runs after God more easily spills over with emotional maturity. We find the perfect model in Scripture.
Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
When we prioritize time for being with God, we’re better at doing what God calls us to do.
How do you respond in maturity when your immature self threatens to take over?