I can pinpoint the day that, after more than four-and-a-half decades of walking this planet, I finally realized I was growing up.
It was a startling, "wow, what a revelation" kind of moment for me.
It was just over a year ago as I leaned against my 1965 Rambler station wagon, which was dead in its tracks - half in, half out of the parking lot I had been trying to leave to get back to work.
This is a car I had just paid a grand for the week before after blowing the head gasket in my Ford Escort. Plus, I had just walked out of the dentist office with the bad news that I was going to have to get a second mortgage on the house to pay for the dental work I needed.
Had this been one day earlier, I think my reaction to the situation might have been different. But I realized that I wasn't whining about the $1,000 that I had just flushed down the proverbial toilet, nor the prospect of multiple thousands more to make me look like Donny Osmond.
Incredibly, my thoughts weren't focused on me.
"Poor me, I'm losing my hair" had given way to "I need to provide a better home for my children."
My mid-life crisis was no longer about hair transplants and a BMW; I finally saw that it was about getting braces for my daughter, and a family car that wouldn't break down every 10 miles.
I had stopped looking at myself and started looking at others.
I was growing up.
This isn't to say that before that fateful day I spent my life gorging on every little thing my heart desired while my wife, six children, two dogs, three cats and one bird went without.
Most people who know me consider me a good provider for my family, one who sacrifices his own dreams for the good of his family.
But far too often that sacrifice was done grudgingly ... so is it really sacrifice at all?
This is a parallel situation to living under God's grace.
I can do all the "right" things like going to church, tithing, watching my language and so on because I have to (the law) or because I want to (grace).
Do I tithe because week after week I hear condemnation of those who do not? Or do I give willingly out of a desire to please God because "God loves a cheerful giver?"
I don't want to get braces for my daughter because I have to; I want to do it because I desire only the best for her.
My dreams don't hold the same meaning for me anymore. My children's dreams are now my priority.
And that's how I know I'm growing up.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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