When my husband and I were young parents, we came across the term “age appropriate” which is probably the one principle that has helped us the most in our parenting. The principle helped us determine when to give privileges and when to relax boundaries in our parenting, deciding what activities we would allow our children to experience, and when. The idea was that responsibilities, freedoms and privileges are to be matched by the child’s demonstrated ability to manage these (including their physical and emotional maturity, as well as personality and personal responsibility.)
So, there was an age appropriate time to give a TV remote, allow a sleep out, a cell phone, a first date, a late night etc. The time was not necessarily associated with their physical age, but more their “age” demonstrated in their behavior. They may have felt that they were ready, but we focused on demonstrated behavior that would be necessary to handle whatever it was they were asking for. We all know that an six year old can behave like a sixteen year old, and an eighteen year old can behave like a thirteen year old. This observed age, played an important role in determining not just what should be allowed, but the timing of receiving freedom, responsibility and privilege that we as parents long to give, but at the age-appropriate time.
This is safe parenting: thinking about the child, the privilege and the circumstances. We are making sure that we protect our children from themselves and the world out there, by limiting the satisfaction of their desires based on their ability to manage these freedoms or privileges.
Thinking about my journey in life and my own satisfaction of personal desires, my longings for freedom and privilege, I was reminded that I am a child of God and have a similar relationship with a Father in heaven, who wants good things for me. I came across this same concept in Psalm 103:3 as it applies to my own personal life and desires, which gave me greater insight into my own spiritual walk.
“He satisfies your mouth with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagles.”
In the Amplified Bible, ‘He satisfies your mouth’ (your appetite for certain desires) is expanded to: your 1) necessity and 2) desire at your personal age and situation.
- The first thing the Lord promises to satisfy is necessities, the basics of life – God promises to provide your necessary need (not extravagance, although He can do that too) but the Lord commits to providing what you need to live.
- Then secondly to satisfy our desires – the Lord longs to fulfill desires, but He does so at the appointed “age and situation” i.e. age appropriate just for me. This was a new insight for me, I have a spiritual age! What would my spiritual age be? If I watched my walk and talk, demonstrated in my spiritual journey, what would I say my spiritual age would be? My spiritual age is not necessarily another’s spiritual age, and may not match my physical age.
God knows my spiritual age, He knows what responsibilities, freedoms and blessings I can manage, based on His knowledge of my heart and the obedient behavior I have already demonstrated to Him. Furthermore my circumstances or situations differ to another’s and God takes all of these into consideration when He goes about meeting the desires of my heart, for my good.
Here are some thoughts:
- Just like I consider the ability of my children to handle privileges, freedoms and responsibility I give them, the Lord also takes my spiritual age into consideration when considering the satisfaction of my spiritual desires and appetite.
- Just like a parent longs to fulfill all the desires of their child, the Lord longs to fulfill my desires and “satisfy my mouth.”
- But just as I wisely know that my child cannot handle everything I would like to give them, or that not everything they desire is good for them now, so God too knows what is appropriate for me now and satisfies my desires at the appointed time. When it is “Age appropriate!”
God has got much planned for me, which is good, but just like I train my children to be ready for freedom and responsibility, God trains me for that which He has planned to give me.
He satisfies our desires with what is good – good for us at the right time. He satisfies with good, so that our youth will be renewed like that of the eagles i.e. strong, overcoming and soaring. Not destroyed, devastated, defeated because He gave it to us before we were ready for it.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
It is related to waiting: “those that wait on the Lord” – those waiting on the Lord are expectant, looking, hoping in Him. During their waiting they are being trained, shaped, changed, renewed in strength, in power so that they can and will, lift their wings, mount up close to God – and soar.
Part of waiting on the spiritual journey, is waiting to grow up.
Then, when we are at the appropriate age—then, we are in a position to run and not get weary, not faint, not get tired. As opposed to Heb 12:3 where the saints are weary, exhausted, losing heart, relaxing and fainting in their minds.
When God does not satisfy our desires and we question His love for us, it is important that we remember that God has plans and a purpose for you and me. But His love, like my love for my children, longs to see me be victorious in all I do. Why would He satisfy my desires when I am not at the appropriate spiritual age to handle it? Instead, the delay may be part of my training to receive all He has planned for me, so that when the season of harvest comes into my life, I can run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.
Lord help me to trust You, that You have great plans and purposes for me and long to fulfill the desires of my heart. Help me not to lose faith, but to trust that You have heard my heart and understand the longings of my heart. Help me to submit to your timing, that I will receive my desires at an age appropriate time for me. Help me to continue to seek You and grow in my spiritual walk and not to lose heart. Give me a heart of obedience, that my walk and talk will reflect your image to the people around me. Help me to grow up and mature in You, so that I fulfill your purpose and plans for me, here on earth. You will be glorified by my life.