When I was younger, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Batman. I was going to be Batman. I already had the costume, courtesy of my mom and a family friend, and it had been pretty well received by my kindergarten class the day I wore it to school. Pretty much the only things left to do were spend years honing my martial arts skills and find a good spot for the batcave.
You might be shocked to learn that the whole masked vigilante thing never worked out. “But Jeremy,” you’re probably saying, “your plan was foolproof!” I thought so too. But then I hit a growth spurt, and I knew in my heart that even the most cowardly of villains could never fear a superhero whose mask was too small for his oversized head. Life, in its infinite cruelty, had forced me to consider more reasonable alternatives for my grown-up identity.
Still, the question lingered for some years. What was I going to be when I grew up? My teachers all enforced the idea that their students could be anything they set their minds to being, which sounded nice but opened up a literal world of overwhelming possibilities. I could be anyone I wanted…but who did I want to be?
I guess that’s still a question I’m answering, career-wise. I took a vocational sampler course during my freshman year of high school, and during the segment devoted to electrical wiring, my instructor told me I should consider electrical work as a career because I had a knack for it. I remember thanking him but saying that I really didn’t have much interest in the field.
(This coming spring will be the start of my fourth year of residential and commercial wiring, so don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.)
By the world’s standards, I am a grown-up. I have a wife, a home, a car, and a job. I’m old enough to vote, to drink, and to go to war. I meet all the qualifications that place me in the “adult” bracket of society, and yet…
And yet I’m not one. None of us are, not really. Paul writes about coming “to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:13-16).
You and I, we’re still growing up. It doesn’t matter how many years we’ve been on this earth or walking this path—we’re still striving to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head.” We’re striving to become more like our elder Brother and heavenly Father, because none of us is there yet—nor will we ever truly be in this life!
So we’re not done with the question, then. What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s not a question about your career in this life, but your destiny in the next. Because we’re deciding that right now. Every choice, every action, every thought is shaping who we will be when we grow up.
When I grow up, I want to live forever in the Kingdom of God. When I grow up, I want to give a great big hug to the loved ones I haven’t seen in a long time. And when I grow up, I want to have the character of my Father in heaven.
But that’s going to take action on my part. I’m never going to just wake up one morning with the character of Jesus Christ perfectly engrained within me. It’s something I have to strive for, day in and day out—something that, with God’s help, I’ll get a little closer to every day.
Becoming Batman was out of my reach. Becoming a child of God is not.
Ask yourself: What do you really want to be when you grow up?
Until next time,