Growing Into Emotional Maturity

This past August I shared the discipleship process our church follows.  When you make your commitment to Jesus you start out as an infant, then you grow in to a child in the faith, then a young adult, and finally parent.  You can also see this pattern as Jesus heals the broken places in your life.  You grow into emotional maturity as well as spiritual maturity.  Here is what it looks like:

EMOTIONAL INFANTS

  • Look for others to take care of them.
  • Have great difficulty entering into the world of others
  • Are driven by need for instant gratification
  • Use others as objects to meet their needs

EMOTIONAL CHILDREN

  • Are content as happy as long as they receive what they want
  • Unravel quickly from stress, disappointments, and trials
  • Interpret disagreements as personal offenses
  • Are easily hurt
  • Complain, withdraw, manipulate, take revenge, become sarcastic when they don’t get their way
  • Have great difficulty calmly discussing their needs and wants in a mature, loving way

EMOTIONAL ADOLESCENTS

  • Tend to often to be defensive
  • Are threatened and alarmed by criticism
  • Keep score of that they give so they can ask for something later in return
  • Deal with conflict poorly, often blaming, appeasing, going to a third party, pouting, or ignoring the issue entirely
  • Become preoccupied with themselves
  • Have great difficulty truly listening to another person’s pain, disappointments, or needs
  • Are critical and judgmental

EMOTIONAL ADULTS

  • Are able to ask for what they need, want, or prefer- clearly, directly, and honestly
  • Recognize, manage, and take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings
  • Can, when under stress, state their own beliefs and values without becoming adversarial
  • Respect others without having to change them
  • Give people room to make mistakes and not be perfect
  • Appreciate people for who they are- the good, the bad, and the ugly- not for what they give back.
  • Accurately assess their own limits, strengths, and weaknesses and are freely able to discuss them with others
  • Are deeply in tune to their own emotional world and able to enter into feelings, needs, and concerns of others without losing themselves
  • Have the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others
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