I Refuse To Grow Up
I’m guessing almost everyone has had one of their elders say some variation of, “just wait until you grow up, then you’ll understand.” The receiver of that message usually responds with an eyeroll or inner expletive–which betrays immaturity and the reason the speaker is saying it in the first place. To my chagrin I’ve found as I’ve aged that I do understand more and more of the things people said I would. Parenting is an area where this is insanely true. I have so much more understanding for my parents now that I have kids of my own. You realize that disciplining your kids isn’t enjoyable, but you must do it if you want the best for them. When you’re asked to go McDonald’s (or Chipotle for our kids) for every meal, you look at the dust in your wallet and understand that your parents didn’t just say no to be mean. (Not to mention the health impact of these decisions!)
Another area where this dynamic comes into play (and the one that got me thinking about it in the first place) is ministry. I’m guessing it happens in any area of work, but since ministry has been my area of study and practice, that’s the one I know about! From the time I knew I’d be heading to seminary, through my experience there, and into my first position in a church, I had the chance to have many insightful conversations with wonderful men and women who had been serving as pastors and leaders in churches for a long time. The wisdom and direction I took from those conversations has shaped me and I think these type of interactions are one of the best things for anyone going into ministry (or anything else probably). However, there is one thing I always said I wouldn’t “grow out of.” Out of the best intentions there were a few times when someone looked at the passion, optimism, crazy ideas, different perspective, and hope for change I had and told me I grow out of it into realism eventually. When they said that it really upset me–I knew that wouldn’t happen. I realized today it is exactly that “realism” that is trying to set in on my mind, spirit, and soul–and I hate it.
We follow a God of miracles, transformation, the unexpected, unmatched power, unbelievable love, and we have a call to join with him in changing the world. If I, or anyone else, gets to the point where we’re okay settling into the routine of ministry, not expecting much to happen except the programs we’ve set up–then we should quit. I have begun praying today that no matter what else I grow up to “understand” I will never acquiese to realism when it comes to our God and what he will do. I have begun praying that I will continue to expect the unexpected, believe that he will do great things through us and in spite of us, and that it is always worth walking with God’s Spirit–becoming people who practice unconditional love, justice, hope, and redemption.