Everyone probably knows the age-old question "Does this make me look fat or skinny?"

It is a common question girls ask each other in real life and in the movies.

But when was the last time we asked if our actions, thoughts, and attitudes reflected if our souls were mature or not?

Honestly, I've never thought about how my actions reflect my maturity in a simple question until this semester. My friends, whom I will call Patricia and Erin, and I lead a small group that has been talking about biblical manhood and womanhood. This bible study has encouraged me to reflect more about my growing maturity.

In the first part of the series, Matt Chandler from The Village Church talks about the difference between boys who can shave and men, emphasizing it takes more than looking like a grown up to be a mature person. I am only halfway through the series, and Matt hasn't paralleled the image of "boys who can shave who only LOOK like men" into a girl version yet.

I'm going to be brave. Below is my best parallel for the girls who do something that women do that doesn't make them a woman (in the form of a question):

"Am I a woman, or am I a girl who wears perfume?"

This question has a very specific image attached to it. For girls, it probably conjures up a memory of playing dress up by wearing high heels five sizes too large for her feet, a feather boa on her shoulders, a beautiful dress and (you guessed it) perfume to pretend she is older... to pretend she is a woman!

I like this question, but I love my own better. I can't seem to get it out of my head: "Does this (fill in the blank) make me a girl or a woman?"

Then I fill in the blank with whatever I chose. Does sleeping in past my alarm make me a girl or a woman? (Women aren't lazy) Does ignoring my teacher while she talks about the upcoming test make me a girl or a woman? (Women respect their elders) Does helping my friend in a time of need make me a girl or a woman? (Women help others if they can)

Does giving myself time to be creative and spunky make me a girl or a woman? (Women use their gifts and talents for good purposes) Does gossiping about my friend's issues with another person make me a girl or a woman? (Women do not speak ill or think negative thoughts about others)

Basically, I've been thinking about how I can grow in maturity. I've discovered there are two ways to do so.

First, I have to learn what is expected of women. The Bible is a great resource for me. This link shows a lot of Proverb verses about womanhood done right and wrong. (I think it is helpful to read, even if you don't believe in God.)

Then I have to reflect personally on how I can be inspiring life, prudence, chastity, and joy in others instead of bringing about death, doubt, despair, and other negative aspects to the world.

Does my speech reflect goodness and truth? Do my outfits represent my love for cute modesty? Do I act with love, mercy, and charity? Basically, I have to choose to do good instead of just learning about being a good woman.

Girls might have all the ways to be mature written in their spiral notebooks, but women live out virtuous values every day. Girls daydream about doing the right thing while women do it every chance they get.

I'm not saying there is a perfect person alive who has mastered all of these mature values and traits. We will never be perfect, but we can get very close with the help of good friends and a strong work ethic (and God's grace). All I'm wanting to do is to grow in wisdom and maturity. I don't want to be a girl, I want to be a woman, and I'm willing to work for it. Are you willing to work to be more mature? My prayers are with you if so!

Thank you for reading this and I hope it all made sense. Peace and blessings.

Brooke