Why Growing Up is a Good Thing

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I turn seventeen on Friday.

In theory, sixteen and eighteen are both milestone birthdays, and seventeen is just kind of…hanging out in between somewhere. But to be honest, turning seventeen feels like much more of a big deal than turning sixteen did. It seems so much more grown up. It’s your last year of childhood.

In the world’s eyes, growing up is almost a tragedy. Childhood is seen as the best time of life, the simplest time, that will never return again. Now you have to enter the scary world of “adulting” and deal with the fact that the best years of your life are hypothetically over.

But is this the right way to think?

As I was thinking about this more and more, I realized something. Nowhere in the Bible is childhood idolized the way it is in our culture. There is not an ounce of nostalgia or sentimentalism towards childhood in God’s Word.

In fact, the opposite is true. Maturity and adulthood are lauded as good things, great things, things to strive for and look forward to.

Take a look at these passages:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

-Ephesians 4:11-15

When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

-1 Corinthians 13:11

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

-1 Corinthians 14:23

Clearly, Paul does not consider childhood the best time of life. In fact, to him, “childhood” is synonymous for “immaturity”, which is something that all Christians should strive to overcome.

And this was really encouraging to me – childhood is not supposed to be the only good time of our lives. It’s not supposed to be a bad thing to grow up. It is, in fact, supposed to be a very good thing.

This does not mean that we cannot look back on our childhood with nostalgia. It is a wonderful time, certainly! And if you had a wonderful childhood that makes you not want to grow up, be thankful for that gift that God gave you. But you don’t have to feel like the best time of life is over once childhood ends.

Childhood is a training grounds for life. It’s a time for us to learn from the godly adults in our lives as well as learning from the various experiences we have. It’s our chance to make mistakes without the pressure.

But childhood is not the end goal. Here is the end goal:

Epaphras, who is of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 

-Colossians 4:12

In all of these verses, we see that the Bible views growing up as a good thing, not a bad thing; something to look forward to, not something to dread; something to pray for, not something to struggle against.

Once we begin to reach these last years of childhood, we will have mixed feelings, certainly. Looking back, we ought to be grateful to God for the many blessings he gave us while we were still children. But we don’t need to get bogged down in what-ifs and should-haves. You don’t need to feel guilty if you think you didn’t live your childhood to the fullest, use your teen years well, or appreciate what you had while you had it. What God gave you, and what you experienced, was what you were supposed to experience, and it was enough. It was enough to prepare you for the adult that you are going to be, exactly what you needed as training for the rest of your life.

And as you turn your gaze forward into the future, be excited! Trust in God’s wonderful plans for your life, and realize that there will be just as many wonderful gifts in this life stage as in the past one. Look forward to the depths of faith and maturity that will grow and take root as you get older, the deeper and more meaningful relationships, the chance to do even bigger things for God in the world. The end of childhood is not the end of “the good years”. If you are with God, your whole life is good, and it is under His control.

He is with you in the present and the future, just as He was in the past; now take hold of His hand and move forward in faith and confidence.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…

-Hebrews 6:1

love, grace

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11 thoughts on “Why Growing Up is a Good Thing

  1. Chelsea R. H. says:

    You’re so right, our culture makes an idol out of childhood and it isn’t right. I think honestly for myself and probably for others too, we look back on childhood when we’re about to become adults because we’re about to step out on our own and we don’t know what God has in store for us, so we’re frightened and nervous. I know that I am!
    Anyway, thank you for a heartfelt and honest post. 😀

    Like

    • graceevalyn says:

      There’s definitely a fear component to all of this. We feel safe in childhood, because it’s known. We know how it works and what’s expected. Moving into adulthood=change, and change is always scary. I know for me, there’s always a lot of excitement mixed in with the fear. I can’t wait to find out what God has in store for my life, and I try to focus in on the excitement rather than my worry. It helps me stay calm!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

      Like

    • graceevalyn says:

      I was sure others were probably going through a similar phase/having similar thoughts and I hoped it would be encouraging! I’m so glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with what you suggest here, that we should strive to become mature in our faith and in our lives. However, I disagree that there is no sentimentalism towards childhood in the Bible. Matthew 18 says “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” So I think maybe what you are getting to here is the difference between childishness and being childlike. One is a position of immaturity and the other is a position of humility, love, and trust in God. So I think it is absolutely necessary to grow up and become mature, but also to realize that Jesus loved the little children and that we should never lose the part of us that is a child of God, emphasis on child. Hope that makes sense. I definitely agree with what you are getting to though.

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    • graceevalyn says:

      I actually thought about that passage while I was drafting this post, but decided not to address it because I thought it would get too long. Maybe I need to do another post. I agree completely with everything you said about childishness vs. being childlike…you basically answered your own objection! That’s exactly how I would have described it. I think the Bible has lots to say about particular virtues being childlike (innocence, humility, etc.), but I still wouldn’t classify it as being sentimental toward childhood, per se. Obviously I don’t think the Bible is against childhood or thinks we should try to grow up as quickly as possible or anything like that! In fact, I think God designed our lives so that we would grow up and mature in a way that still kept certain elements of childhood, like trust and humility. Childhood certainly has a purpose, and all I was getting at is that ultimately, the purpose of childhood is to grow up in godly maturity and we shouldn’t shy away from that. Hopefully this helps a little…or maybe I was just rambling. We can definitely continue the conversation if you want! (Sorry this response is so late, too.)

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