What is Maturity?

My Niece Emily, and I.
"So, Pastor Jason, do you like playing in puddles?" An older lady asked me this past Sunday when she saw me before Sunday School. I looked at her quizzically, and then I remember what I was doing before and after visiting her at her apartment last week. Then I asked, "Did you see me out of your window?" She responded with, "No, my friend who lives down stairs saw you, and told me." After saying this she bursted out laughing. I was slightly embarrassed...but then I began to explain what I was doing. You see, along the road outside of her apartment, big piles of snow had built up during the winter...but they were melting, and water was flowing through them, creating these really cool canyon looking type things. To me it almost looks like a little mini, cold, Grand Canyon. It's beautiful...and I'm fascinated by it...but also the little kid in me loves to destroy it too...so I enjoy stepping on the edges of these little mini canyons and making the sides collapse. I do similar things with ice on cold mornings in the Spring...I get a strange satisfaction out of breaking the ice...am I the only one who does this?

This interaction got me thinking...what is maturity? And, is it okay for me, as an adult man, and a pastor, to be doing things like this? I think it is...and it's actually healthy...allow me to explain.

We might get the mistaken notion that maturity means always being serious, and not having fun...or at least not having fun with simple things like puddles, and ice, and snow. But, I think this is a pretty shallow and superficial definition of maturity. I think a better way to define maturity is knowing how to act appropriately in the situations you are presented with.

Maturity, is knowing not to burp loudly during a board meeting at your workplace...that may be a fun thing to do with your kids at home...but not at work. Maturity is knowing when to be serious if your kids are misbehaving and their disobedience needs to be addressed.

But, I do not think it is immature of me in the future, when I have kids, to run outside in a rain shower and splash in the puddles with my kids...in fact, I would argue that it's good and healthy to do things like this. The minute I'm unable to do things like this, is the minute I have become too serious and unable to enjoy the simple pleasures God has given us.

God has given us so many beautiful things in creation to enjoy...to go for a walk in the rain and enjoy the feel of rain running down our faces...to go outside and enjoy throwing snow at your girlfriend/wife...to join your kids in swimming in the creek....to get excited while watching ants building their ant hill...to look in fascination at all the blades of grass that are in your yard and how they would look if you were the size of an ant...I could go on. So many things in creation that God has given us...and when we loose the wonder of enjoying them, this is not maturity...it is an unhealthy seriousness.

So, I know that was a lot of rambling...and it wasn't very coherently written...but these are my thoughts on maturity. All that to say...I can play in the ice and snow outside, and this is not necessarily a sign of immaturity.

Making a fort with my nieces, Katie, and Joanna.