There are various views of maturation in the world. Some assume a sort of exterior astuteness: tucking in your shirt, waking up early, being decisive, having a rather serious demeanor. The word harbors a sort of stiff deliberateness.
But in the spiritual world, maturity may look a little backward. “He who loses his life for my sake finds it,” said Jesus. There is fundamentally the concept in spiritual formation of not being in control, confessing powerlessness to change many things.
The one thing needful, the one thing we can control, is our attitude, our outlook, what we chose to believe is true. That radically is given to the individual person to sovereignly steward. But do we “control” that? Is that the goal?
Mastery of your emotions sounds like a good thing, but it may run smack dab into the reality of our interdependences. We are people of context, and that context is not merely external. We are given an internal context we have to navigate.
That internal web of connections sheds great light on who we really are and what things really are “working.” So many things we can do hover around what we need to do. They are very closely related, but definitely not our sweet spot.
It is akin to being on a baseball team but in the wrong position. Even though what position we play defensively should not effect our batting (which is offensive), it does. Not until we get the one right does the other seem to gain its clarity.
So being on the right kind of team (baseball :-) is a start, but only the very beginning. Which team? Which position? Which spot in the batting order? So many other variables need to line up. Our internal context guides us through this.
Fortunately we just feel “off” when not in alignment. Not that our emotions are clairvoyant, but they certainly work to adjust our rudder. There is a sense in which we can trust them to help us finesse the wheel. They know something!
So we must learn the art of discernment, of honing in our intuition (which is beyond but including both our reason and emotion). We must learn to listen to our lives, to hear the sound of perfect harmony between our calling and the world’s need.
These intersections are seldom easy to navigate, but there is a compelling vibration of sort when we approach one. There is a sense of destiny, a feeling of the wind behind us. There is belief and a strange familiarity like we have been here before.
Those moments of clarity, though often short, are oxygen to intuiting our calling. They give us a deep sense of vindication that external circumstances can neither confirm nor deny. These vocational moments are worth their weight in gold.
The reality is that our calling is a set of very small footsteps in a very vague direction. We know basically what the end product looks like but we simply don’t know how to get there. We move forward in faith, and trust we will not be forsaken.