When Did I Start Growing Up?

I remember this commercial well as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania and later Tennessee.  The catchy tune stuck with me and it was something I remember singing even into my early adult years.

I didn't just sing it, I tried to live it as well.  I did not want to grow up.  I loved being a child and tried to hold onto my childhood as long as possible.  

As I reached adulthood, I became a fan of flea markets, yard sales and antique stores.  Anyplace I could find retro toys and other items from my youth appealed to me.  I may not have been able to afford them, but I sure got pleasure from these regular trips down memory lane.

The older I got, the more I seemed to embrace my childhood.  I continued my baseball card collecting hobby, watched vintage cartoons and acted somewhat...immature at times.  When my daughter came along, it gave me the chance to introduce her to some of things I enjoyed, so that I could somewhat selfishly enjoy them again.  When my son came along, it gave me an excuse to walk down the boys toy aisle with him as opposed to doing so by myself.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying your childhood or being young at heart.  There is also nothing wrong with growing up.  I have heard whole sermons based on 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

Those sermons usually condemned immaturity, and not just spiritual immaturity.

I have to admit though, I liked being a kid at heart.  I like collecting baseball cards, some superhero books and even the occasional toy from my youth.

However, over the last couple years, I have noticed some subtle changes.  I still collect these items, but my mindset is changing.

Somehow I began thinking like an adult in other parts of my life. 

I no longer feel the need to "argue" the Gospel.  I want people to come to faith in Christ but see the value in balancing grace and truth in how I present the message of hope.

I am willing to die for what I believe, but what I believe is being refined to Jesus Christ and Him crucified. "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

I began embracing a new mindset in my interactions with others:  "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18) 

Probably the biggest change, and one that has been coming along a bit more slowly, is a working out of James 1:19 where we are encouraged to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. 

One day, I looked in the mirror and saw grey hairs.  People began telling me I had matured in my interactions and that they feel I have become more well-rounded.  Somehow I began growing up.

It's actually not so bad.  Don't get me wrong, you'll still see me in the toy aisle, and I will be buying baseball cards until my wife cuts out my allowance.  However, you will also see a calmer me.  Someone who is more relaxed in his faith and trusting more in the King of Kings.  

If that is what it means to grow up, I am ready for it. 

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