Growing up Solid

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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.” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

The riding lawn mower quit working recently. Apparently, grounded tree limbs and freeway driving speeds over top of said tree limbs don’t make for a good mix. I’m not surprised by the breakdown. I’m only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

After a few days at the shop and a costly repair, I informed the “lawn mowers” in my household that mowers and sticks don’t mix; they nodded their understanding. It didn’t sink in; not fully. For just the other day, the “lawn mower” man was at it again, driving like Mario Andretti, all the while crunching and munching the remnants from a recent storm beneath the blades of the newly renovated mower. When I confronted him about the issue, he looked at me with all sincerity and ease and simply replied…

“Mom, I don’t do sticks.”

My immediate response to him?

“Son, that is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t do sticks? Are you kidding me? How old are you?

I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Your imagination is ample enough to create a fairly clear picture of just how it all went down.

I’ve raised two impatient sons as it pertains to the “doing” of the rudimentary tasks of daily living, which includes anything that doesn’t make their list of “how a young man should be spending his time.” And while they’ve always been willing to comply with these daily chores (and to their credit, with little grumbling alongside), the rules of engagement for accomplishing the tasks share one common denominator.

The faster the better. The sooner it’s done, the sooner the fun. Sometimes it works out that way; sometimes it doesn’t. They are both finding out via personal experience that faster isn’t always the best route for progress. That speeding through life sometimes presents them with a yield—a pause that forces them to grapple with their impatience and their choice to either “grow up” in this area or to keep returning to the bottle of their infancy.

As it goes with them, so it goes with me. There are seasons in my life when the pressure to mature burdens me with the responsibility of having to make a choice along those lines. In the days of my youth, I couldn’t wait to be older; at least then I would be in control of my decisions.

I was right; I’m now in control of my decisions, but there are times when the comfort of a little milk and a warm blanket are tempting. Times when I wish I could revert to the cradle and leave all the decisions up to someone else. Times when I, like my sons, say dumb things to others and to God, in hopes that my words make sense, but all the while knowing that they don’t. That they are offensive to the ears of those on the receiving end.

Unreasonable words. Thoughts based on emotion rather than truth. Casual statements issuing forth from a place of unbelief, fear, and selfishness. Justifications that aren’t thought out but, rather, are based on inconsistent sentiment that shrouds my flesh in self-interest.

I spoke as much to God this morning.

“Where are you God?”
“I think you’ve forgotten about me.”

“Could you just hurry up with the answer?”
“Is there really any point to this day?”
“I imagine that this is about as good as it’s going to get, so I’d better get up and get it over with.”

Yammering unbelief like that, on and on for a few moments, only to be quickly followed up by my confession.

“I’m sorry God. That was really a dumb thing to say.”

And then I laughed; and then he did. And thus, the conversation was opened up for a better word; a truer truth; a love and a grace that exceeds my stupidity to say,

“Now that we’ve cleared that up, elaine, let’s move on to some solid food.”

It’s time to move on with some solid food, my friends. Our maturing doesn’t happen overnight or with a quick ride around the lawn. Our “growing up” in the faith takes time … takes a willingness on our parts to bend to the menial tasks of picking up sticks and slowing our pace. Of entreating the pauses that find us, whether forced upon us by others or freely chosen by us because we’ve come to the conclusion that faster doesn’t always yield better. That solid food requires a longer chew.

And that chewing can, in fact, bring pleasure to the process of our becoming.

How about you? What excuses are you bringing to the table of grace today? What could you possibly offer up to our God as a justification for your staying as you are? What bottle of milk tastes better than a steak? What questions could you ask him that remain without answers? What elementary understanding stifles your “gettin’ on with the gettin’ on” as it pertains to your faith journey?

Can this mother’s heart be honest?

It’s time to grow up. Time to slow down and sit with Father God and listen to what he has to say. Why? Because if we don’t, we risk a lifetime of infancy, never tasting the freedom and joy that comes with moving onto our maturity in Christ. Jesus didn’t go all the way to the cross and back so that we could stay as we are; he made that journey so that we could become a living conduit of his kingdom and his grace.

And that kind of sacred consecration and calling, my friends, deserves more than our menial attempts at maturity. Kingdom bestowment deserves our unparalleled obedience and humble willingness to grow into our crowns and to be thankful for the grace it has taken to make them a worthy fit.

Leave the bottles for the infants and keep to the table of rich meats this week. I’ll meet you at the table of grace where the food is solid and the communion is ever sweet. As always,

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22 Responses to Growing up Solid

  1. Oh Elaine, you never fail to write straight at my heart. There are many things going on in my life that I wish would just HURRY up and be over so the fun can begin. But I know deep in my heart that 1/2 the fun is getting there. And the other 1/2 is looking back and seeing His wisdom and greatness in the slowness of it all.
    Thank you for sharing that. . . I really needed the reminder tonight.

  2. Neat post. I can apprecaite your boys wanting to get the job done so they can get on to important fun. My brothers and I were the same way, as were my kids. Slowing down, being silent, listening for God – great spiritual discipline.

    Thanks for visiting Family Fountain and leaving a comment. It was a pleasant surprise.

    I almost took some classes at Asbury. I would imagine that was a neat experience for you growing up on a graduate school campus! Who was your father? I studied homiletics and may be familar with his name.

    Thanks again.

  3. I smiled when I read this. I have 2 sons! For my teen esp,, the faster the better.
    Now I am at that stage where the lesson that God's timing and provision do not 'jive' with our cultural instant gratification. His time is just, well, His time. Now that I look, I realize 'waiting' is primary to our growth, and this generation has much to learn in this area.

    Hey, would you please lift up a prayer for my 16-yr-old? He's getting baptized on Sunday. I'm so emotional..and so proud of him!
    Love, Sita

  4. I love the way you write, Elaine. Truly a gift from the Most High…

    It is incredible to me your topic of choice today as God has been weaning me off the bottle for quite a long time now. So long the milk is no longer sweet but souring from being shelved for too long a season…


  5. Oh the dichotomy of it all! You've captured it well.

    Those meals that require the longer chew also stick to the ribs longer too. They tend to be more nourishing, and often require a bit more prep time than … say, a trip through In-and-Out Burger. At our house, they most often include dessert – – but not before the longer chew is done & settled. It's always worth waiting for, I might add.

    At my house (which really means: in my heart), it's a season of holy. Not sure what that means, or where it'll lead. All I know is that I'm finally growing molars for an even longer chew than I've heretofore known. And at MY AGE!?!!

    Hugs and much love,

  6. A hearty "Amen!", my sister! You wrote: "And that chewing can, in fact, bring pleasure to the process of our becoming.

    A friend and I were just recently discussing how much we crave to savor the Lord's good gifts. We compared it to opening presents on Christmas morning, and how we desire for everyone to carefully open and wondrously savor each individual package, instead of rushing in and plowing through them, losing the delight (and the meaningful favor of the giver) in the frenzy.

    I wonder how many of His good gifts we miss by our impatience to hurry on to the next thing, and how much of His nutrition we lose by our inhalation of His Word, and how many of His privileges we forfeit by refusing to grow up and accept greater responsibility.

    Oh, Lord, let us luxuriate in Your goodness! Let us savor You and fully digest every morsel You provide. Let us not be in such a hurry to move on to "there" and "then" that we miss "here" and "now". And, Lord, let us remember to stop and deliberately choose to remove any obstacles and stumbling blocks in our path, knowing that we are blessing ourselves, others, and You by our diligence. I pray in the name of Jesus, Your perfect Son and our precious Savior. Amen.

  7. That, my friend, was a nourishing bite in and of itself.

    Thanks for dishing it up – both the honesty and the conviction.


  8. Friend, I've been having some temper tantrums of my own lately. Thanks for this reminder to grow up. Sigh.

    IT ISN'T FAIR!!!

    Oh, did I write that out loud?

    Back to the drawing board…

  9. Elaine,

    I've missed a few of your posts…so I had to catch up.

    You know that those good-by stories always make cry.

    And about the mowers.

    Well, let me say that in my hurry to get to the fun, I've broken a few things along the way.

    I love the comparison that you make.



    I want the second one!

    Sweet dreams.

  10. The beginning of your post is a familiar sounding conversation we have a lot around our home too. I laughed when I read it.

    I love a good steak dinner. ya know why? because you can't hurry through it. If you do you just might choke. A steak is something you have to chew slowly and savor and enjoy. It is amazing to me sometimes how many times I rush through some other meals. I finish and then I can not even really remember eating it or tasting it or enjoying it at all.

    Thanks for the nourishing meal you provided today. I surely did not just swallow it quickly for I am still savoring it and will remember how it tastes for a long time.

  11. Your post was excellent and the comments on target! Well done, my friend!(Both the post and the steak!!) I am craving the steak that takes a little longer to chew and digest over the oatmeal. I am saying "no" to things that I've said "yes" to for the past few years. I am getting surprised looks from folks at church. But, God is enticing me to sit at His feet and enjoy the meal and the dessert. It will take time to digest it…but my Lord is worth the wait. Thank you, darlin' friend.

  12. It's, at least sometimes, settling for what you've always done instead of stepping out in faith. Letting others do what is truly your responsibility because they are "better" at it. And so much more.
    Oh, am I ever there. Thanks for the VERY needed reminder.

  13. "Mom, I don’t do sticks."

    Okay, that line made me laugh, long and hard. I think our boys – somehow – are related. We've had our lawnmower to the shop twice this season.

    Then, this statement really hit home:

    "It’s time to grow up. Time to slow down and sit with Father God and listen to what he has to say. Why? Because if we don’t, we risk a lifetime of infancy, never tasting the freedom and joy that comes with moving onto our maturity in Christ. Jesus didn’t go all the way to the cross and back so that we could stay as we are; he made that journey so that we could become a living conduit of his kingdom and his grace."

    Amen, Elaine…amen.

    Praying for you this week as we walk our 7 day journey…


  14. Something in the past three years I have learned more than previous years is the preciseness and preciousness of time in waiting. Not mowing over the sticks, but taking time to pick up each one, not drinking from a bottle, but carefully cutting and chewing and savoring what God is teaching me. Granted it took almost 40 years of being a trail blazer, but my learning curve was always longer than most. Thanks for sharing your heart today and as far as boys go, I figure when they have homes they will learn fast enough that fast is not enough. Blessings.

  15. Funny to think that I would ever forget what steak tastes like… and would revert back to milk. How would I ever get my fill on milk? I wouldn't… So pass the A1 please!

  16. Hey Mrs. Elaine:)

    I got my card last week from you with the pics of us at that BBQ place:)Thanks for sending them! Such a bright spot in my day!:)

    I see what you are saying in this post, I am mostly at home now, and I have been thinking about how to best use my time to get down around the house what needs to get done. I need some domestic motivation! I'm trying to view what I do in the home as my main "ministry" because what I do here serves my husband, and eventually, Little One:) I understand what you are saying, I get to where I don't want to do everything I should do. I want to learn and grow domestically, just as I want to learn and grow spiritually…

    Thoughtful post, Mrs. Elaine:)

    Blessings to you today,


  17. God never leaves me unfed when I visit you!

    I used to say… I can't wait until Friday. I wish the weekend were here… Oh how now I don't want to miss a single thing. Yes… there are many times that I want God to hurry and give me an answser. How many times did I cry that aloud to Him during my struggles with infertility. But through a long journey He spoke to me, my faith grew and my love for Him grew. His wisdom and dreams for my life came out in the years of struggling. Those dreams became mine!

    I have found the more I come to know Him the more I want. Yes… it seems there are seasons that I seem to only nibble on the appetizers! However, I am thankful for the deposit of the Holy Spirit that urges me like hunger pains to want what fills me best!

    God Bless You Elaine.

    PS: That lawn mower story… tickled me!

  18. Elaine, this (and your video) has reminded me of the post I wrote just this past Friday entitled, "R.S.V.P.", based on this verse: “They sat down…to wait for his reply.” Ezekiel 20:1

    I am prepared and purposed to wait for the solid food.

  19. You still have a way with a phrase, my good and talented friend. Wonderful to see our kids launched, perhaps still running over a stick or two, but joyfully growing into their crowns. Now, to get on with the allowing of my own snug fit. Loved reading this.

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