I’m almost 26 and I still have a difficult time processing that I’m an adult doing adultish things. I don’t consciously go about my day thinking I’m in my mid-twenties until I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and fail to see high school Emily staring back at me.
Instead, I see a married (young) woman with an apartment, a car, and a job. I see someone who travels by herself, makes meals, does laundry, and buys toiletries (which all seem grown-up to me). I’m always taken aback when real life forces me to own up to adulthood.
Last week was one of those real life weeks. Tim and I dealt with taxes, dentist appointments, doctors appointments, and every type of insurance. We spent a lot of money on things that aren’t fun to spend money on and sacrificed plans we hadn’t planned on sacrificing. I’ll spare you the details of these transactions since most of you are probably already thinking, “Yes, Emily, that’s part of growing up and being an adult…” Suffice it to say, it was just an unpleasant, overly adultish week.
It’s in the midst of those weeks when I’m bombarded with the reality of maturing and growing up that I can fully appreciate the illustration Paul uses to talk about spiritual maturity.
You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the scriptures.
You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk ins’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right. Solid food is the for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.
Hebrews 5:12-14 | NLT
There’s a natural progression of growing up in both our physical life and spiritual life. We start with a level of immaturity and grow from there. Being a baby, or young in the faith, is just part of the journey; but staying that way is most definitely not part of the plan.
Food helps us grow and mature. The type of food we eat changes as we develop. Milk is easy to digest (unless of course you are lactose intolerant), but it gets old after awhile. Solid food offers variety, but it can be more difficult to digest. Hence, babies start out with a milk diet and progress to solid food as they grow.
Solid food requires effort – you have to buy it, prepare it, chew it, and clean up after eating it. The work does pays off eventually, though, as you begin to develop a taste for the abundance of food God created. There’s discovery and adventure in trying new foods or a different preparation style, but like any cook knows, a bad recipe or failed attempt can be discouraging. That’s when milk seems like a really good option…
Sometimes, childhood seems like a really good option, too. All I want to do is revert back to life with no bills and no responsibilities. It was certainly easier when all I had to worry about was getting A’s and making my bed. Then, I think about my husband, the job that allows me to travel, and the sense of accomplishment I get when we pay off debt. Those things wouldn’t be possible if I was still drinking the milk of my childhood.
Being an adult is difficult, but it is also fulfilling. I want my adult life to be mature just like I want my spiritual life to be mature, which requires solid food. Taxes, paying pills, making decisions on my own, using money wisely – that is solid food.
Paul’s exhortation to backsliding Christians has certainly been a poignant image in my mind this past week, and will continue to be, as I take on adulthood one bite of solid food at a time.
Growth won’t come without solid food. You just have to embrace the changes required in the process.