Peter Pan Syndrome9:30 AM
Daniel Franklyn had a bad day Tuesday. He didn't get enough sleep the night before, tripped over a tent and walked in front of Caroline's red plastic swing - while it swung towards him. That's not the worst. Since he was just a little kid, sleeping in a crib and wearing diapers and being rocked to sleep, he always sucked on his right pointer. There's a unique puckered look about him when that finger slips into his lips. But the dentist says it's ruining his teeth. The obvious, simplest, most inexpensive (as compared to braces) way is to get him to stop sucking his finger - to stop sucking anything.
To aid our courageous little brother, Mama hid all his sippy cups and bought him some Sip-a-Mugs- like the kind we older kids chewed up and wore out several years ago. Tuesday morning, before the more serious manisfestations of a bad day, I was emptying the dishwasher and Daniel Franklyn came in.
"I want some apple juice." He then proceeded to the cupboard, where the hidden stash of sippy cups were. Smart kid - I don't even know where things are in the kitchen. He had bribed me to get him apple juice in a sippy before, but I already had had my lecture and was way ahead of him.
"Get me some apple juice."
"Sure, honey, but you can't have it in that cup."
He wrinkled up his insulted brow. "But - but I want it!"
"Well, you can have it, honey bear, but not in that sippy cup."
(Here we insert arched back and wail.) "Please?"
"No, baby. Why don't we use this cup? Or do you want a big kid cup?"
"I - I want a sippy cup."
"But Daniel Franklyn, Mama doesn't want you using those cups. You're a big boy now."
"No, I'm not."
"Daniel Franklyn! Of course you are, whether you want to be or not. You've got to grow up."
"I don't want to grow up" - dejectedly, as he leant his forehead against the kitchen drawers. "I don't want to grow up. I don't want to grow up."
You may be interested to note that he did, eventually, accept apple juice in a Sip-a-Mug. Me, I was interested to note that he voiced my ineloquent opinion on life some days - those days when I have too many responsibilities, too many obstacles to overcome, too many conundrums to unravel and too much of life looms over my head. It's at that time I want to throw in the towel, bang my head on a kitchen drawer and mumble over and over again, "I don't want to grow up...I don't want to grow up."
Take, for instance, theology. Are you at the point where nothing controversial comes up in Sunday school, church or everyday life? I once was. I drank theological milk for most of my life. But recently my Heavenly Father weaned me off those nice, feel-good controversies and started offering meat and potatoes as spiritual fare. Meals like, Calvinism, Amyraldianism or Arminianism? Amillennial, postmillennial or premillennial? How does salvation work? Why does God do as He does? Why aren't all the people I love saved? I take a long time to chew steak as it is; it's even harder when it's theological steak. And I remember several sleepless nights, several harried study sessions, several frustrating conversations where my presuppositions crumbled, my brain gave out and I cried, "Lord, I don't want to grow up!"
For that's what was happening. How about you? Maybe theology's not your top priority right now - maybe it's accepting adult responsibility, making wise decisions, helping out around the house or submitting to the Lord's leading. Do you resist growing up, like Daniel Franklyn? Or do you welcome controversy, conundrum and uncomfortability as God's three-course meal of sanctification? It takes guts to grow up. It takes pain. Ultimately, it takes faith. But it's worth it - and it's necessary. Indeed, as Daniel Franklyn found out, it's inevitable.
"For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14).