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What’s more off-putting, to be a child who acts like and adult, or an adult who acts like a child? I think it’s the latter. The truth is that either of these scenarios are problematic. When a child is acting like an adult we think it’s cute (like a little boy dressed in a business suite), or that they are just being responsible, which we applaud. But a child acting like an adult sets them up for a life time of being an overly responsible pain in the butt. When an adult is acting like a child we are completely confused and annoyed (like 30 yr old man living in his parents basement, who asks his parents for gas money). Both should be cause for concern. Children need to act, think and feel like children. Likewise, adults should act, think and feel like adults.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) Paul gave us a principle of growth when he said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

The really scary thing is that many of us adults don’t realize that parts of our lives are still underdeveloped and even childlike. Being an adult chronologically does not make you mature or even healthy emotionally.

The really scary thing is that many of us adults don’t realize that parts of our lives are still underdeveloped and even childlike. Being an adult chronologically does not make you mature or even healthy emotionally. One of the indicators of being childlike, or emotionally immature is in how you relate to those closest to you, like your parents, spouse, siblings, friends and coworkers. If you find yourself in a good amount of ongoing conflict with these people, the chances are good that one or both of you are acting childish.

The 2 signs of not being an adult that I have found most often in my interactions, as well as in my own life, have been blame and resentment. Blame is the tendency to assign, or attribute, responsibility for an offense or a wrong. Resentment is the feeling of bitterness, irritation and anger after one feels they have been mistreated by another. Although I’m sure there is a long list of other signs, I would like to zero in on these two for now.

I want to be clear that blame and resentment aren’t feelings to avoid or to “get rid of.” For sure there are times when blame has to accurately assigned in order for a person to heal or move forward. Blaming someone one for hitting you with their car is appropriate, whereas assigning responsibility to that person for your feelings of sadness, resentfulness, or bitterness is your responsibility.

Your feelings are not always your fault, or the cause of your pain, but they are always your responsibility and within your authority to transform. What you chose to do with your feelings and your life is YOUR responsibility. How you expose those feelings to Grace, Truth and Time will determine your future. Often the feelings we are trying so hard to avoid and run from are the very key to unlocking the freedom and healing we desire. It’s about becoming an adult.

So what does it mean to be an adult? An adult is someone who has ownership and authority in and over their emotions and life. Now the counter balance to these 2 signs of immaturity is personal responsibility. The essence of being an adult is personal responsibility. Easier said than done, right!

It starts with identifying and accepting these feelings of blame and resentment. Bring them before God and then share them with safe people around you. Share your raw unfiltered emotions about your situation or that relationship that is causing you pain. Own your feelings! Take responsibility for them in yourself and then begin to address your heart and mindset regarding these. Ask yourself, what is mine to own and what is not. Deal with what is yours and process through those painful emotions. The amount of time that you have stayed stuck in resentment and blame is proportional to the amount of time it might take to process. It is through working through the pain that you will begin to find hope and healing and the energy to pursue your passions. You can do this!

How have you gotten unstuck from the blame and resentment trap? What are other signs of not being an adult that you have experienced? Share your thoughts below.

If you have been stuck for a while in blame or resentment it might be time to ask for help.

Coach Matt

Coach Matt

Matt has over 20 years experience as a pastor, organizational leader and coach. Matt is a survivor of pain, trauma, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and codependency. He has learned to not only survive trauma and pain, but live a passionate and fulfilling life and loves helping others do the same.