I Am Developmentally Reluctant (or Adventures in Immaturity in Christ)

Everyone knows that it’s perfectly acceptable for children to be childish. What’s concerning as a parent is when your young adult is still acting like a child.

Immaturity is relative. It’s quite normal to have to carry around an infant but if your seven-year-old can’t walk on his own, you take corrective action.

I often feel that I am one of God’s developmentally reluctant children. I’ve been with Him since I was around four, so I’ve been on His grow-life plan (superior to Gerber) for over forty-five years. You’d think I’d be amazing but I still need remedial attention in many areas.

This past week, my husband and I drove (Okay, well, he drove and I clutched the dashboard) for almost one thousand miles to attend a Christian writer’s conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Seriously, we were in faith country. If I’d been really still I’m sure I could have heard Billy Graham gargle.

We had a wonderful drive through Virginia but we were pretty tired by the end of the trip and desperate to be off the road and at the conference center when the car decided it, too, felt the unstoppable desire to be done! Five miles from our exit on a very active highway on the steep crest of a mountain slope we were dead in the water.

And what remarkable prayer of faith did this daughter of the Lord for forty-five years manage to pray? Don’t quote me but as I recall it went something like “Seriously, Lord, five miles from the exit? This isn’t even funny. I’m in the mood for a shower and dinner NOT for another life lesson.” Gracious, right?

In that same moment, I remembered what He and I have been working on lately – my ability to be with Him in the moment and to remain calm and trusting no matter where that moment takes us. Fantastic, I thought, I’ve blown this pop quiz. That means I haven’t seen the last of this remedial lesson plan!

See, there are therapies for a child with developmental delays – the approach differs according to the personality of the child, his or age and the area of delay. For example, a child who cannot speak clearly usually needs gradual therapy.  Developmental reluctance needs another approach.  For example, a thirty year old who won’t get a job may just need a slap in the head and a tough love plan that includes changing the locks. I suspect I’ve reached the tough love stage with God when it comes to trust in the moment.

After an hour on this mountain side, God sent an angel of a AAA man who was kind enough to drive me to our conference center (I’m sure he took one look at me and felt the drop off would be in his best interest, too). He then drove my husband to purchase what we needed to repair the leak in the transmission fluid, helped him to be sure the car was drivable and got him back to Ridgecrest where I had been having a long chat with God. Apologizing (me). Forgiving (him). And assuring (Him that He wouldn’t give up His work in me.)

It turns out to have been the perfect place for the car to break down and my husband and I were both encouraged by the kindness of the AAA stranger. (and, of course, I have another story).

God’s desire for all His children is that they grow up – not faster than is developmentally proper but He’s not happy when His older children are still acting like spiritual infants. As the mother of a young adult and an older teen, I really get that.

The writer of Hebrews speaks for God when he says “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrew 5:12-14 NIV

I am developmentally reluctant in some areas but I’m willing to submit to the plan of corrective action. I’d love it if you’d pray for me to get this right during the next quiz.  How about you? 


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8 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Lori,
    I enjoyed your post and love your whole blog!! What great insights. I absolutely LOVE your “psychology” perspective on things . . . will be back to read more and more.
    From one reluctant, shivering soul to another: I’ll pray for you as you face upcoming tests . . . thank goodness we have a hugely compassionate instructor, right?

  2. Andrea says:

    I would love for you to pray for me during my next quiz, too. I, too share the developmental delay in a big way on some days.
    I am from the western part of SC, just below where you were (at Ridgecrest). I could visualize you sitting there just a few miles from the conference center exit. I love the Blue Ridge Mountains. I grew up waking every morning with them in view….I never realized what a treasure GOD had placed in my life until I no longer lived there. To this day, I am inspired profoundly when I sit in the mountains..no matter what mountain…GOD speaks loudly to me. I am a bit jealous of your adventure and I look forward to hearing more.
    Hugs, andrea

    PS: Yes, Billy Graham is just around the bend from where you were!

  3. Karin says:

    Love the way you tell a story, especially hearing BG gargle from where you were. We have 2 grandsons with autism and I marvel at the patience each mom has in teaching new skills. We all rejoice with each tiny step of progress! I see my heavenly Father having that kind of patience with me and I am so grateful!How the angels must rejoice when He is teaching me something and I finally, after many, many tries, GET IT!!

  4. Julie, you are so sweet to drop by! It sounds like you made it home safe and sound. Loved meeting you and getting to know you a bit at the conference. Look forward to more!

  5. Andrea! I was so close to you and didn’t know! There wasn’t a moment to breathe at the conference, however, and every moment was worthwhile. Have you ever been? Loved the mountains – it was beautiful every day.

  6. We are all on Individual Education Plans with God, aren’t we, Karin! Glad you liked the gargling part 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

  7. Carmen says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I especially related to clutching the dashboard while your husband is driving. LOL! I too am constantly discouraged when I realize I’ve messed up yet again, especially since I’m over 30 years in this relationship with God. I gotta say, He’s an amazingly patient King!

  8. Cheri says:

    “In that same moment, I remembered what He and I have been working on lately – my ability to be with Him in the moment and to remain calm and trusting no matter where that moment takes us.”

    Oh, that is something I’m working on too. And I’ve failed my share of pop quizzes!

    My daughter is in nursing school, and it is TOUGH. A saying that the students use to comfort each other is C=RN; in other words, even if you do an average job, you will still be an RN when you get out.

    I love my daughter’s heart though. She isn’t happy with C’s. She wants B’s, or even better, A’s. And I think that’s how God wants His kids to approach His pop quizzes. But in His economy, even an F=grace, if we are willing to submit to His plan of corrective action!

    Praying for you, and hoping you’re praying for me too!

    Hugs,
    Cheri