"Why can't you grow up?!" Parents sometimes express their anger and impatience with their children in this way. But, it is not a shameful thing to be a child. To acknowledge our child-like-ness is to acknowledge our limits and our dependency. It is to make room for wonder, trust and joy in our lives. If that is what it means to be a child, then we need more of it.
But there is also a sense, as in this text, in which to be child-like is to be immature or unstable. It is a good thing to grow-up. Not because it is shameful to be a child, but because growth is part of God's plan for us. Being "tossed back and forth" is an exhausting way to live. We need to find some way to live without being "blown here and there".
Growing up is hard work. The reason for this, as this text suggests, is that growing up is closely connected with learning to speak the truth. Honesty is a central dynamic of growth and recovery. Increasing our capacity for honesty is not an easy process. But, as we speak the truth in love, we will experience some dramatic changes in our relationships. We will find a more intimate relationship with God - we will 'grow up into Christ'. And we will also find ourselves 'joined and held together' in a community of faith.
Help me to be a child, Lord,
Help me to face my dependencies and my limits.
But, help me to grow up as well.
I'm tired of being tossed back and forth.
I want more stability than being blown here and there.
I want to have stable, healthy relationships
with you, and with others.
So, build within me a capacity for honesty.
Help me to speak the truth in love
so that I can grow up.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery