One of the hardest things to learn growing up was how to “”do what you didn’t want to do.” I know that sentence doesn’t look right but read it again and you’ll see it is spot on. If you were anything like me this process of learning to do what you didn’t want to do made you a little envious of the adults that were around you. It seemed to me that my parents, older cousins, aunts, and uncles always looked like they got to do what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it. My conclusion: “I can’t wait until I’m grown!”
That’s right. Those famous five words that have blessed and cursed so many lips. There are a couple of movies built on this premise that jokingly expose the flaws of this wish such as BIG (featuring a young Tom Hanks) and newly released 16 Wishes (starring Debbie Ryan).
BUT WHY IS THIS WISH SO FLAWED?
The numerous reasons could fill a novel. The one that jumps out at me first is the misconception of complete freedom. Don’t get me wrong, being an adult has its fair share of advantages.I would never really want to be a kid again. If I am being technical then yes an adult can do whatever they want. The part I don’t think I got as a child was the fact that there are consequences to all of my actions. Life lets you choose your actions but it doesn’t let you choose your consequences. Often time the consequences of a mistake are veiled behind a desire for a great weekend, an evening of fun, a pursuit of the ultimate high, the desire to be carefree, or to prove a point!
I could live my life following in the words of Kanye West’s 2007 release, you “Can’t Tell me Nothing!” I can quit my job, slap my boss, and spend my whole day dancing in dandelions barefoot. I can watch television until my eyes close themselves. I can eat fruitloops for dinner and chocolate cake for breakfast. It could be amazing. I can drive my car down I-69 at 120 miles an hour and make all of my NASCAR heroes jealous. Then max out my credit cards and empty my bank account at the mall on a new wardrobe (I’m gone look SHARB!).
BUT THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES….
Eventually I might regret leaving that job, slapping that boss, and need some hydrocortisone for my itching from the dandelion dancing. I would also end up with a horrible stomach ache and a few extra pounds from my unregulated diet. Those unmarked Mustangs and Dodge Chargers would track me down on I-69. They have a little more power under the hood then my Jeep Liberty. They would definitely give me a ticket for the ages… maybe even suspend my license. My wardrobe would be great after shopping but with no more money and no more credit I would quickly realize all of the other needs for money. In short, the fun would be very short lived.
I’ve always had great spirit and the ability to be in the moment. I think inherently we all have a little of that pull to be carefree. It is learning how to bridle that freedom that keeps us safe and ultimately leads to long-term happiness.
KJV puts it like this: He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
All consequences are not bad. Working everyday means eventually a check is coming. Paying your bills is more than just building good credit. It also allows you access to water, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, cool air in the summer and heat in the winter. Do that long enough and you’ll find people willing to share that cool-air and heat with you.
Learning to control our impulses can make the difference in building a productive, meaningful, and well-rounded life. So the next time you get that tug (to slap your boss, quit your job, spend all of your money, eat cake for breakfast) think of the consequences that could follow.
A little self-control goes a long way!