One phrase that I have heard consistently throughout my life is, “Wow, you’re so mature for your age.” Now at twenty-five years old, that doesn’t strike me as odd in any way, but when I was a teenager, it made me feel like I wasn’t able to act my age. I felt like I had to live up to a certain level of maturity dictated by the adults in my life. Did I still have fun as a kid? Absolutely. But did I also work really hard to come across as calm, cool, and collected when meeting other people? Also, yes. It has taken me ten years to let go of the idea that I must be mature all the time and fully embrace the firecrackers of weirdness that the Lord has wired into my heart.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that we have to dial ourselves back or tone down our personality for the rest of the world. We’re told that we have to be professionals, that we have to adhere to a specific social code of conduct, that having fun is for college. Once you graduate, it’s time to grow up. I don’t know about you, but I’m done with “growing up” and hiding who I am for the sake of the world around me.
We need to grow into rather than grow up. Growing up is all about leaving the silly, gut-busting, rolling on the floor laughing parts of ourselves behind and focusing on living strictly serious lives. By this rule of thumb, you’re allowed to have fun once in a while but never in public. Growing into means that we don’t hide away vital parts of who we are created to be; it means that we wear them with pride. We don’t hide the wildness that has been woven into the sinew of our hearts; we use it to show others that life is meant to be enjoyed. We take the weird and the serious and stitch them onto our sleeves. Showing the people around us that we are dynamic human beings, not two-dimensional characters that have to stick with one personality trait.
Embrace the wildness that the Lord has set in your heart. You were created to be living messy, vibrant, fearless lives. To be running headlong in fields of grace and mercy, knowing that you are held securely in the Father’s hands. You were never meant to keep precious parts of yourself locked away. Instead, stand fully in the light of the sun, hands lifted high, showing the world that you will no longer be taking pointers on how you should be living. You are free to live like the One who created and called you intended for you to be. Embrace what the Lord has given you: every quirk, every snorting laugh, and every wild, crazy moment in between.
Life is too precious to pass up moments of fun because you’re too worried about what others will think. You only get one life, and to spend it locking away the liveliest parts of who you are is a tragedy. When I turned twenty-five, it was like a switch was flipped in my brain. I was done with keeping this wild, spontaneous, fun-loving side of myself locked away only to be brought out on special occasions. Every day is a special occasion, and I want to start celebrating this extraordinary life that God has given me. So friend, I urge you to step into the light and let go of the idea that you have to be perfectly put together all the time. You are free to live loudly, laugh wildly, and generally run amok in love and mercy as you bring glory to God!