My son says he is “five-ish.”
He’s actually four and his birthday is in October, so it’s not that his birthday is coming soon.
He’s simply feeling five, so this is his new token answer.
“How old are you?”
“I’m five-ish. I actually look five. Actually.”
It’s because of a little playground encounter a few weeks ago with two little boys who became his insta-best-playground buddies. They climbed all over the pirate ship together, took turns on the zip line, and then spun in the tire.
Finally, they exchanged names and ages.
That’s when my son realized these other guys were five and they were shorter than he was. So, therefore, he must look five, or at least “five-ish.”
Maybe it’s the fact that my baby is trying to age himself or the fact that my girls all finished off another school year and are off to bigger, higher grade levels, like finishing up middle school of all things–maybe it’s me nearing 40 and feeling all the weight of what that means and how that looks on me….
Whatever the reason, age is on my mind.
I’ve been thinking how age is inevitable. Growing older just happens, even if we’d rather it didn’t.
Maturity, on the other hand, is not guaranteed.
In her book Unseen, Sara Hagerty says it this way
We’ll mature without effort into wrinkles and gray hair, but our hearts won’t mature deep into God by default.
But what is this maturing, this growing up in Jesus?
It doesn’t come by default, so then it must take discipline. Yes. Spiritual disciplines. Digging into prayer and digging into His Word and serving and listening to the Lord and worshiping. Yes and yes and yes and again.
It’s not all so concrete and straightforward, though. It isn’t just about studying and reading and knowing what God’s Word says.
There’s the discipline of repentance and humility. It’s stumbling our way through living out faith. It’s getting it wrong, humbly confessing that and asking Jesus to renew, revive, refresh and redeem.
There’s the discipline of weakness, maybe that’s the hardest for me. When I am feeling most dependent on Jesus because I’m not strong enough or capable enough on my own, I have to lean. Leaning can feel like so much brokenness and that’s hard, but it’s also sweet because that is exactly when I know Jesus more.
Failing, messing up, making mistakes, feeling frazzled and overwhelmed: It’s all my weakness on display, but I cannot pull away from the hard season, from the difficult or the wearying or the unknown or even what I just haven’t mastered yet.
Christianity isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being transformed.
Then there are the quiet seasons, when life seems to just roll along day after day, seemingly stagnant, same-old, same-old.
Restless. I can be so restless.
I want to see big results. Big change. Big impact.
Then I read the reminder in Isaiah of how to grow in the discipline of waiting:
but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 CSB).
I love this verse in all of the nuances in each translation.
“Those who TRUST in the Lord” (CSB).
The NIV says “Those who HOPE” and the ESV says “those who WAIT.”
We trust Him. We hope. We wait.
The discipline of waiting tucks itself into seasons of quiet and of hiddenness and of not knowing. It’s about lingering for direction and looking forward to seeing God at work, but not seeing that work just yet.
When we trust and we hope in Jesus even in the discipline of waiting, we can soar and we can run, but oh friend, we can also walk.
Somehow that walking seems like the greatest feat to me. Soaring can be exhilarating, running shows great power, endurance and strength.
But walking takes unique courage. Walking takes persevering hope. We’re not seeing leaps of progress, but we will not give up. We aren’t quitting and setting up camp in a land of complacency or dormancy.
We’re being steady, daily, consistent, steadfast, and faithful.
When the soaring is done and the running is finished and we’re feeling bone-tired, still we walk with the Lord today. Then the next day, we get up and we walk with Him again, and we will not faint nor fail.
I remember that it takes discipline to repent humbly, to fail graciously, and to wait patiently. That means I can buck less against what feels uncomfortable or hard and instead embrace what God is doing in me right here and now. I’m not just arbitrarily aging; I’m maturing in Christ. Lord, be at work in me.