“In this world, things that are naturally to endure for a long time, are the slowest in reaching maturity.”
St. Vincent de Paul
We live in a microwave society where we want things to come quick and easy, not slow and hard. And because of that, we’re losing the process which makes us become strong and mature. “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it” (Proverbs 13:11). I find comfort in the words “little by little” and that over time increase happens. A house is built one brick at a time; it doesn’t happen overnight. A marathon is run one step at a time and a 100-mile bike ride is completed one pedal turn at a time. Little by little, slow and steady. When we choose the quick and easy route, we forfeit the strengthening of our maturity muscles of perseverance, diligence, and patience.
Reflecting on my life, the most fulfilling and satisfying progress has been made by the slow and steady, often hard processes. Whether it’s writing a book or making revisions, packing up a house for a move, losing weight, or training for a marathon, the process is often tedious and difficult. It’s the little by little that makes the greatest impact on your inner man and possibly to others. The payoff from diligence – pressing through and showing up even when you don’t feel like it – is more rewarding than a quick fix. The character traits forged within as you go little by little are the ones you will take with you wherever you go.
Maturity, spiritually or otherwise, comes through faithful obedience. Permanence comes little by little. A slow and steady weight loss through diligence in healthy eating and exercise leaves a longer lasting change than a fasting diet. For external habits to be altered, our inner man needs to be transformed and that happens little by little. Fighting the “I want it now” urge can seem like an uphill battle. The more you choose steadfastness, the easier the choice becomes.
The process of maturity is developed over time. It’s not something that can be hurried. Little by little, the slow and steady process of character development and maturity, are well worth the time, steadfastness, and long suffering.
“One of the marks of spiritual maturity is the quiet confidence that God is in control…without the need to understand why he does what he does.”
What area(s) do you want to mature in? Start by taking baby steps and little by little you’ll arrive at your destination.