Growing up hurts.
Growing up inevitably means confronting flaws--in yourself, in others, in our world--that you never saw before as a child. Hence, when the Rebelution shared an article titled Grow Up, Don't Grow Cynical I felt it couldn't be a more apt summary of my feelings.
The inevitable disillusionment of growing up is a great temptation to become embittered, and accept cynicism as the mindset with which you view life and people.
The friends we once thought were so effortlessly close, or so perfectly suited to us, change. Betrayal. Hurt. Quarrels. Drifting apart. Grudges. Things we thought our friendship was safe from, like a helium balloon floating happily over the minefield of messy friendship problems we saw everywhere else and especially in internet angst. We're too close for that.
Even the church we thought was an exception to all the other 'messed up' churches you hear about--'ahh, they're just not like OUR church!'--eventually shows the same weaknesses threatening to erupt into the same problems we once looked complacently, self-righteously on from afar, with no idea that the same ugly sores lay so close to home.
And we lapse into disillusionment and discouragement, and after struggling in that mess for a while, sink deeper into a layer of bitterness and cynicism that we embrace, that clings to us.
People are always like that.
They're all hypocrites...
You can't trust anyone, I've learnt that.
Yeah, that's what he/she SAYS. (significant emphasis)
I know better than to believe that now...
How many times have you heard those phrases, or been tempted to say them yourself?
The struggle with bitterness is a very real one. And the worst part is that most people don't even see it as a struggle, but the inevitable conditioning of life, or 'reality.'
Disillusionment is a reminder that perfection is something we were created for, but can now only find in heaven. Disillusionment is a reminder that sin corrupts everything, even those things with the greatest semblance of God's goodness. Disillusionment forces humility upon us--not the lonely perverted pride of cynicism.
It prevents us from developing the self-righteous, dangerously complacent 'my fishknives are the best' mentality that C.S. Lewis so aptly described in The Screwtape Letters; from blindly following any one institution, person, or group, from relying on other people's representations and commands rather than seeking out meaning in the Bible and a personal knowledge, personal relationship with Christ and the Father.
From fixing our hearts and minds too much on earth.
It stops us from depending on others, which isn't necessarily always bad. But more importantly, it should teach us to depend on Christ--and not result in us depending on ourselves. Humans must rely on something. If we stop relying on others, we end up relying on ourselves--and if we've learnt anything from our disillusionment we should question what makes us think that we're any better.
Because we change too. That is both the most beautiful and most painful part of growing up.
But as C.S. Lewis (again!) phrases it in An Experiment in Criticism:
The process of growing up is to be valued not for what we lose, but for what we gain.
a quiet voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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