If you have been around the Life Model for a while, you have probably come across the maturity charts. 

One aspect of child level maturity is learning to ask for what you need. Just that idea alone brings up all types of different reactions in each of us. Everyone has different thoughts, questions, arguments, fears and disappointments connected to thinking about the idea. If you’ve come across people who only know how to ask for what they need, you might even view this as a selfish perspective.  

Pause and identify how you react to this idea.  

In today’s blog I want to give you a few reasons why learning to ask for what you need is essential to growth in community.  

Another term we use here at Life Model Works is “Swiss cheese maturity”. Swiss cheese is distinguished by the holes all throughout what would otherwise be a perfectly square slice of cheese.  Our maturity is a lot like this Swiss cheese. We have some areas of maturity we are really good at, and other maturity skills that are completely undeveloped. When we have maturity in some areas, but lack it in others, we call these our maturity gaps. The gaps create the Swiss-cheese like picture reflecting our maturity. For example, you have some of the parent maturity skills covered, but you have two holes in child level maturity skills.  

Understanding Swiss cheese Maturity is extremely helpful when evaluating yourself or understanding the leaders around you. Sometimes, we can see how someone is really gifted to lead in one area, but then lacks other skills. Usually in churches we play this little game of, “if this person is just good enough, we will overlook their maturity holes”. This is especially true in groups without any language for maturity or understanding of how to develop it. Usually if a group of people has a process for developing or testing maturity, they are less likely to excuse immature leaders.  

Before you get too far along analyzing the leaders in your community, our friends over at Lk 10 remind us that we are each first and foremost leading ourselves. When we do not have language or understanding of how to develop a maturity skill in our own lives, we are more likely to excuse our own lack of maturity.  

As we continue examining this theme of finding and living from our best self, we can use the maturity charts throughout the process. How each person develops each skill in their own life involves a variety of approaches and tools. There are some widely applicable practices, but also your personal story and neurological wiring play a role in understanding how you need to heal. This is why sitting with Jesus and wise counsel is important for growth.  

This is also where the skill of asking for what you need becomes super important. When you start trying to fill in maturity gaps in your life, it might be confusing to the people around you. How you have been behaving or tolerating certain things might change. Because your journey of growth is unique, committing to asking for what you need helps the people around you truly support you. There are people in your life who want to care for you, but they do not know how. If we are changing and growing, what we need might be changing too.  

Sometimes we need a friend who listens. Sometimes we need space without social obligations. We need more alone time. Sometimes we do need advice, and other times we need space to figure things out alone. Sometimes we really need a hug and other times we just need a smile.  

Getting clear on what you personally need can be hard. Maybe that is what you need to communicate.  

My challenge to you this year is to start integrating communicating what you need to the people around you and inviting them to do the same.  

Here are some ideas sentences you can use:  

“While I am working through this issue, it would feel like support if you could ______________________.”  

“I am working on __________________ maturity skill. If you can offer me attunement and patience in this area that would be amazing.”  

“I am feeling overwhelmed right now, I really need some space alone.”  

“I am feeling really overwhelmed right now, do you have capacity to hear me process right now?”  

“I have realized I have a lot of unknown or conflicting emotions about this situation. I do not know what I need, but I do not want _____________________ .”  

Owning your process helps the people around you so much. This can be difficult for various reasons. You probably have been thinking about them while reading those sentences. Maybe you feel like, “I could never say that.” You can start simply. Start by pausing to realize you DO need something. Then take the next step of just saying these things to yourself. Then ask Jesus who is someone around you that can receive you well. You do not need to do this journey alone. Jesus can always handle hearing what you need. He is the best source, and he always cares.  

For more information on maturity, check out the Life Model Works flagship book on our website here: Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You – Life Model Works 

Recent Posts

Join the Fearless Following

Be one of the thousands becoming full-brained, wholehearted followers of Jesus. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest developments, opportunities, and resources!