There I was playing with my hot wheels. I loved to create epic races and make them wreck with photo finishes. In my world, it was really exciting. Then right in the middle of playing these feelings overcame me. Feelings of shame and embarrassment.
Those feelings birthed this thought, “What are you doing? You’re too old for this. What if one of my friends sees me playing with these toys?” And SNAP just like that, my pretend muscle died.
To this day it makes me sad thinking about it. For me at least, when my pretend muscle died, my creativity muscle took a big hit, when my creativity muscle took a big hit a new muscle formed. Some people call this new muscle “adulting”- I think it’s actually the “Too cool for school muscle”. I feel like that muscle has only gotten stronger as I’ve become an adult.
It’s grown and causes me to be afraid to task risks, afraid to dance, afraid of being all-in on relationships, it causes me to be quick to criticize, to not appreciate uniqueness or creativity, and finally, this “too cool for school” muscle is the one that prevents me from experiencing real wonder in the typically mundane.
I have a feeling it’s not just me though. Our society often peddles this, “Grow up” mantra pretty quickly in the lives of our kids. But what if there’s a cost to it all?
Jesus has something to say about this. One day while Jesus was talking His disciples came up to Him and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Now, Jesus could have named a list of religious greats. People like Moses, David, Abraham, or even Joseph; but he didn’t.
He said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Become like a child? Not like a religious great?! Jesus says, “No, like a child,”
So what do children have that adults forget about? Well, there’re probably a lot of things Jesus is talking about here. But for me, I need to be reminded that children are present. They’re full of wonder. They love meeting new people, using their imagination, and creating with little fear of the feedback they may get! They’re not critical of others, but they love them. They don’t expect perfection. They’re all-in and are willing to let their guard down and have some fun doing it!
Adults in the room, what would it look like to lean more into your childlike heart?
Parents, what if we put the phone down and began to live in wonder with your children? Enter their pretend world on their terms! What would it look like for you to build that childlike muscle up in your children and then cherish it?
Creativity and wonder don’t have to be some reverent spiritual thing-just do it and have some fun!
Still need some help? Here’s a short list that might help you get out of your adulting funk:
- Take out a piece of paper and create something. Could be a drawing, a paper airplane, or something else.
- Watch someone be creative (outside of your normal genre of creativity) and actually appreciate it instead of criticizing it.
- Go on an adventure in the woods, but off the trail.
- Go to six flags or Disney world and be all-in.
- Dance. Heck, make a tiktok of you dancing and post it without edits.
I’m going to end on this, my favorite coffee cup that we own says, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” I pray that over your life today.