This is twice now. The first was about 6 years ago when I was jus beginning the process of getting my Master's Degree at Cincinnati Christian University. As a new grad student I was still wading through the ins and outs of the library rules so I made my way to the counter to ask a question about how many books could be checked out at once. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "Excuse me, how many books am I able to check out at once?"
Girl behind counter who looked like she was nine: "Uh, the limit is 12"
(long pause, unsure of how to proceed)
"...if you're a student."
I laughed to myself, assured her I was a student and then proceeded to check out my books. This should have been my first glimpse into the reality that I no longer looked the part of college student. Instead, I shrugged it off as a case of "clueless girl at the library" syndrome and moved on with my life.
Fast forward to yesterday at Cedarville University. My sons are considering Cedarville as a possibility for college and my older son was spending the day in a soccer ID camp as he considers playing at the college level. As a result, I found myself with ample time to write, read and wander about. I spent the morning writing and reading and after lunch I found myself browsing the bookstore looking for a small "Cedarville souvenir" to purchase for the boys. I eventually settled on window decals that they each have several of from the various schools and tourist attractions we have visited in the past. I made my way to the counter, delighted to see someone who looked older than pre-teen working the counter. I handed over my items to be scanned and waited for my total. Since my library experience 6 years ago, I've always known in the back of my mind that I was past the point of being mistaken for a college student but the next words out of the Cedarville clerk's mouth sealed the deal, "Are you faculty or staff?"
Whatever doubt there was lingering in the corners of my mind about my appearance had now completely evaporated. It is now obvious to everyone that I am significantly older than college age.
As I left the bookstore and made my way back to the library to spend the balance of my day reading and writing I was struck by a spiritual truth. God expects us to look different as we grow up. Not so much in the physical realm but rather in the spiritual realm. I've been a Jesus follower for close to 30 years now and as a result I should look, act, think and respond differently than I did 30 years ago. People should no longer mistake me for a new believer. Scripture makes clear through direct mandate and countless examples that we should grow up spiritually.
As I've reflected on these and other scriptures I've asked myself the question, "Is it obvious to those around me that I've grown up spiritually?" Am I still being mistaken for a spiritual infant?
In the physical realm, my thinning hairline, graying beard and crows feet are sure signs that I am no longer of college age. In the spiritual realm my actions, thoughts and responses should be indicative of someone who's been walking with Jesus for many years. God forgive me for falling back into spiritual infancy from time to time. May I learn to consistently walk in the fullness of spiritual maturity that I was created to walk in through Christ. Be encouraged and keep moving forward. -Andy