Self AcceptanceSpiritually mature people have learned how to like themselves and value the differences between themselves and others. They have an understanding that they were created in a unique way. They don’t wish for what they don’t have, and are grateful for the things that they do have. As a young man I often wondered why I had the parents I had. I often wished that they were different and even sometimes wished that I had a different set of parents. I often wondered why I was stuck with two sisters, and didn’t have a brother. Sometimes I thought about how I wished I was taller, had bigger bones, and was smarter. When I was about 30, I came to grips with the fact that some things in life are unchangeable. When my own children start to complain about me or their mother I usually say to them, “Sorry we’re the only game in town; you can’t trade us in for another set.”
Spiritually mature people accept who they are. They realize that they wouldn’t be on this earth if their parents didn’t bring them into the world, and they accept their individual features that make them who they are.
The Balance of Power
Spiritually mature people understand the balance of power. In other words they know who is in charge and why certain people are in charge. I heard a great talk on leadership once at an administrator’s conference in Washington, DC. The speaker made a statement that really stuck with me. His statement was, “In order to be a good leader you have to be a good follower first.” Spiritually mature people know how to follow orders and work in any system without moaning and groaning, and don’t making statements like, “Why do we have to do this?” or better yet, “Why is he/she doing this?” They also don’t talk about their bosses behind their back. It is human nature to wonder why someone is doing something. Spiritually mature people know how to go to their boss and discuss things face to face.
Why do spiritually mature people have this ability? I believe it’s because they really know who is in absolute charge, and that’s God. They know that God has placed this person in charge of them for a reason, and if they have a problem with their boss they might as well have a problem with God, and they don’t want to take that chance. They have learned how to separate the person from the position. They respect their boss’s position, but in their heart they know that they don’t always have to like who he/she is as a person. They know that God will honor their compliance, loyalty, and respect for the person in charge and they believe that they will be blessed beyond measure for being a good employee.
The Spiritually Mature People Can Forgive Others
Spiritually Mature people know how to forgive others. I battle this all the time. I know in my heart that I have to forgive others. I know that it is not good to hold a grudge. I say to myself you have to forgive, for your own good, you have to forgive. My problem comes in when I can’t forget. The longer I dwell on someone or something the angrier I become and ultimately I become bitter. This bitterness affects me and those around me. I will admit that this feeling can consume me at times. I might even look to get even with the person who I feel wronged me. Sometimes when I sleep I am told that I make statement like, “wait until you see what I’m going to do to these people.” Forgiveness is a sign of spiritual maturity. Lack of forgiveness can paralyze a person causing obsessive thoughts that impact a person’s ability to function on a day to day basis.
Spiritually mature people know that the object of their bitterness will be dealt with by God. They know how to forgive and forget. Sometimes they not only forget but they work to restore the relationship between themselves and others. They don’t allow themselves to fall into the trap of unforgiveness for a minute because they know that it is something that could impact them for a lifetime.
Going to a Catholic Church and to a Catholic School were all an important part of my up bringing. My parents raised me as a Catholic and we went to church every Sunday. It didn’t matter if my parents had a brawl the night before, or even if they had a brawl on Sunday morning before church. We all got dressed up and walked over to St. Joseph Church like one happy family. I did learn something. I learned to believe in God, and all of the tenants of the Catholic faith. I learned what the Catholic Church called sin. The venial sins were the small ones, and the mortal sins were the big ones. I grew up believing that when God created Adam and Eve they were created as Catholics. I had a deep respect and still do for nuns and priests I watched as the nuns stopped wearing their traditional habits that all nuns wore at the time and tried to see how far above their knee they could wear their dresses. I know that the priests enjoyed watching this contest. I also had a great time talking to all the priests in school, in the community and in my fathers bar. Two of the priests were my father’s drinking buddies. They also attended AA meetings with my father. I received communion, got confirmed, went to confession, and then graduated from the eighth grade. That was the end of my religious experience.
My parents did what they could to provide a religious experience for me. The thing that they didn’t do was provide a spiritual experience. The religious experience that I had was one where I participated in the traditions of the Catholic Church. Most of the time I didn’t know why I did what I did; I just did it. The participation was confined to Sunday morning, and it didn’t really matter what happened during the other six days. I was never taught how to take the teachings of the faith and develop a set of spiritual principles that would become my value system as I grew older. I never really matured spiritually.
People usually turn to God for help when their foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them. Sometimes God needs to do things to us to get our attention. The spiritually mature person doesn’t have to turn to God when things get tough, because they believe God is standing right next to them. They don’t scream Oh God, when they are fearful of life, they only have to whisper and they have the faith that He hears their words. Why do some people have this ability to be at peace even in the face of adversity, and tragedy? I don’t believe that spiritual maturity is something that just happens. A person doesn’t wake up one morning and find themselves with a renewed outlook on life. It is something that has to be cultivated from the bottom up. The roots have to be developed and then a person will begin to see the flowers. In my case I didn’t start this process until I was 30 years old. From the time I was about 17 years old I never could figure out what I believed in. I believed there was a God, but I didn’t have a value system or a commitment to any source that would help to inspire, or uplift me on a regular basis. Whenever a wave of life would hit me I would reach into the chambers of my soul and discover that there wasn’t anything there that I could use to help me deal with life’s problems. I never made the connection between spiritual maturity and overall maturity as a person. A spiritually mature person knows how to take the spiritual dimension and apply the principles of their belief system to their life on a daily basis. I have always enjoyed The Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” In order for me to accept things and to develop wisdom I needed to plug into source to draw from and to gain daily inspiration. I found that the daily reading of the scriptures helped me gain insights into the battles of life and offered answers to questions that I otherwise never would have been able to come up with on my own. I would discover verses in scripture that I would meditate on and make them part of my prayer and thought life. The evangelist Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do today, that I will have to spend two hours praying instead of one.” Scripture reading and prayer became a source for me to draw energy from, attain wisdom from, and to get the daily emotional strength I needed to manage my day.
Many people gain energy and insights from other areas. Inspirational literature, walks in the park, or even melodious music can inspire some. A fundamental belief system that gives a person a path to follow and that can make them almost unflappable and have inner peace is very private and very different for each person. There are certain core principles that spiritually mature people have adopted as a part of life. These principles are in the silent chambers of a person’s heart, and I believe that they are universal to everyone. When the ground starts to quake a person who has a strong core understands the reason for the earth quake and has the confidence that there is a way out.