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Faith and Spiritual Growth for the Maturing Adult

Spiritual and Personal Development: The Healthy Personality

The Healthy Personality

by Richard Johnson

Have you ever asked yourself why some people don't mature—they just seem to get "old?" Why is it that some older persons become "cranky" or irascible, angry or dependent, fretful or demanding, as they age? There might be lots of reasons that push people to become "difficult" as they age, some are recognizable and some are not.

As we healthfully mature, our spiritual pace naturally quickens; the wonderful uniqueness of the God-presence within us unfolds more and more. But what if our spiritual pace doesn't quicken ... what happens then? Whenever our spiritual development becomes blocked or interrupted, the graciousness, peace, simplicity, wisdom, and inner courage that are all marks of healthy maturation, can't emerge. This leaves us spiritually malnourished and quite vulnerable to a distortion of our personality.

When we find ourselves manipulating others, or blaming our problems on forces or persons outside ourselves; when see the solutions of our problems in the hands of others, or when we're chronically melancholy or nervous, something has interrupted our natural maturation process.

In his book Faith and Mental Health, Dr. Harold Koenig, M.D., of Duke University found that "Older persons with a close relationship with God are more optimistic; and those who are optimistic have better overall health." Our advancing spiritual development pays us many dividends. One study of older women concluded that strong religious beliefs helped them to better:

  1. integrate negative life events,
  2. accept reality,
  3. gain insight and courage,
  4. confront and transcend limitations,
  5. recognize their personal purpose,
  6. and achieve psychological growth despite difficult circumstances.

Living fully, and living maturely means, among other things, living with Christ; it means opening to God's grace. It means loving God with our whole mind, our whole heart, and our whole strength.

For more on how to avoid becoming a "chronic problem personality" as we mature log onto: http://www.senioradultministry.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=COURSE108

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