DISCLAIMER: I love teenagers, especially mine. They are wonderful. This post is in no way meant to be disparaging of them.
Please excuse me while I wax spiritual for a moment.
I'm wondering if, spritually speaking, I will ever progress beyond the teen stage. Let me explain.
Life ebbs and flows. Sometimes things are easy and I take eveything for granted. Other times they are hard and it seems like nothing is happening like I want it to. And sometimes I have to do something hard and need a little extra help.
Recently I found myself in this last category. I needed to do something hard. Hard enough that I knew I couldn't do it without a little extra help from God (as if I am not always receiving a little extra help from Him). So I took inventory of my life and began working harder. I tried to eliminate anything that may have been impeding my relationship with Him. I tried to be more faithful in things that I've committed to do in the past. And I just basically watched my life more closely to see what else I could put in order. I worked hard. And it paid off. I was able to do the difficult thing. Thank you, God. Moving on.
And the next day is when I started to see myself as a spiritual teenager. Some of my old habits returned, or at least tempted me in a way they hadn't while I was focused. My dedication wasn't what it had been when I needed something.
So let me paint for you the image I have of myself. My teenage self in relation to God, my father.
I have regular spiritual chores. Things that I am supposed to do every day because they are my job and I committed to do them. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I grumble. Sometimes I consciously blow them off entirely. And, to give myself credit, sometimes I willingly and cheerfully do them. And often I forget that they are for my benefit. I feel like I am somehow doing Him a favor by checking off my list. I forget that He puts a roof over my head, food in my belly, and life in my body. Not to mention all the wonderful people and experiences that He brings into my life. He gives all of this freely, whether I do my chores or not, and asks so little of me.
But then I have something big that I want or need or think I need (I compare it to a teenager asking to borrow the car -- you know, back when teenagers didn't all have their own cars). Now, in an effort to butter Him up so I can have what I want (not really my mind set, but it kind of works out that way) I work extra hard. Not only do I do all of my regularly assigned chores, I look for extra things to help with. I am the prize child who will help with anything, do anything, be nothing but bliss -- at least in my immature eyes. He is pleased with my turn around and rewards my good behavior. I get what I want. And then go back to rolling my eyes and sleeping late.
I know life is meant to ebb and flow. I know I probably can't keep up that pace forever. I know that for everything there is a season. But it still makes me sad.
Because too often I am still a know-it-all teenager who is entirely self-centered. And I wonder if I will ever leave that stage entirely behind.