From Innocence to Adulthood

Time moves quickly. When you get technical and confusing, the only truly present moment is this present second (a present minute always has more seconds to go or so on). Consider how short a second is and you get this sickening glance at how fast your life is ticking away into the past and how fast you’re constantly speeding into the future. You can pull out a little bit and view life in present days, weeks, or months, but it still passes by without giving you adequate time to measure it.

As time moves so quickly, you tend to overlook how you personally change, for change comes slowly. It takes a concerted effort, and maybe even years, to really slow down (or stop?) your life so you can note what’s moved or been rearranged. Last weekend I was forced to come to grips with my past and consider how much I had changed in 7 years.

You read, last weekend I went to an event called “Jr. High Believe” with a church group full of rowdy jr highers (read: 4 6th graders). I wanted to go not just to chaperone the kids, but because I had gone to that very event 7 years ago when I was in jr high. It was strange seeing how much had changed, the program, the theme, the venue, the etc. But it was stranger to compare my “present” self with my “past” self…how far have I come?

For the past couple years I’ve felt like something in me has changed, is different. I think it happened in the final month of my senior year of high school (or sometime thereafter). During that period, something snapped. In some ways, what snapped was good, in most ways, bad. I had become an adult. I had tasted of love and pain, put myself under loads of stress, smelled freedom for the first time, and many other things. I went to college and I continued changing, most ways good, some ways bad. I grew in faith, but in a harder, grittier way. Unfortunately, I grew more sarcastic and cynical. Within the past months I’ve gone through things that have made me grow up far sooner and faster than I think I would have liked. Here I am, a hard-boiled adult.

Compare that to me 7 years ago at Jr. High Believe. The Reveal Tour. February 20-22. Friday night-Sunday morning. I was a geeky looking 8th grader that was finally getting serious about this Jesus. I was struggling with sins even as I struggled just to get on my feet. I was quieter then, more reserved. I was also, in some ways, more open. I certainly wasn’t the cynic then that I am now (and curse that cynicism!). To a point, I think I was more…innocent. Less compromising. More committed.

It’s not that I’m not committed now, just not as committed. The fire has lost its luster as the night wore on. But does it have to be this way? Does my “innocent” child-like faith have to mature into a more hardened adult? Of course, faith must mature. And as I blast my way through life I’ll tarnish myself, find ways to foil my own plans. But for every foul up, there’s forgiveness. For every grinded moment, there’s grace. The fire must be rekindled, but it will be a harder fight to keep it blazing now.

In some ways, I feel like Ralph from Lord of the Flies standing on the beach and weeping for the loss of innocence. In another sense I feel like Dorian Gray staring at his horribly mutilated portrait, carrying the weight of consequences from his actions. Maybe it’s time I stab my own portrait and take a few steps back toward a “child-like” faith. So yes, I’ve changed in the past 7 years, but God hasn’t. Like Aslan when Lucy finds him for the first time in Prince Caspian, my God certainly seems bigger as I’ve grown older and I can only expect Him to grow bigger to me still…

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