Often times I have clients who have a history of documented legal trouble. While their record speaks of their failures, that doesn’t mean the they have no effort towards success. The tension between their failures and successes lead them to great frustration, sometimes to the point of tears. They really are trying, at least at some level. For whatever reason, they have been unable to turn the corner and walk out the new life they desire.
When someone is in jail, they are often humbled and open to input. The same person that may be rude and arrogant when they are free is infinitely more open to an investment in their lives when that freedom is taken away. When they have a record of ongoing trouble and are at this place of humility, I often try to take the opportunity to invest with words.
Recently, there was a man like that who was locked up after years of failures. He was trying, kept a job and took care of his young child. There was some substance abuse which seemed to be a common denominator in his failures. At first, I thought he was in his twenties, but looked up his date of birth and he was well into his thirties. He had not turned the corner from childhood to maturity.
During a conversation, the best encouragement that I could give him was that “it is time.” He knew exactly what I meant. “It is time to stop. When I was a child, I acted like a child, but when I became a man then I put my childish ways behind me.” I share that Truth relatively often with people in these types of patterns of destructive behavior. It almost always seems to resonate with them.
There are plenty of older people running around in the same mindset that they had when they were children. If there is substance abuse involved, their emotional maturity stalls at the point in which they began use of their drug (or alcohol) of choice. So if they started self-medicating at the age of 14 with alcohol, marijuana or whatever else, then that very well could have the emotional maturity of a 14-year-old twenty or thirty years later.
It’s a new Life we all desire. We just can’t do it on our own and we can’t try real hard to get that Life that calls to our souls. We move into maturity by laying our self down to allow Another to rise up. Or not; it’s our choice. Accepting the invitation of Life makes a way for maturity to move us beyond our childish ways. The choice is a decision to step into our destiny within the context of our purpose. Our purpose requires us to put our childish ways behind us.