July 31, 2019

“When I was a child,” the apostle Paul writes, “I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” When I was a child, I read books about vampires and dreamt of being a photographer who moved to the rain forest. I was flung out into existence and made to contend with what the world actually was versus what I wanted it to be. I developed what the Germans call weltschmerz, the depression that arises when reality doesn’t align with the ideals in your head. I’ve always had a lot of things in my head. As a child, I made up stories as soon as I learned to talk. It was no great surprise to anyone when I decided to become a writer, for I had always been one, but to take that leap—to jump the line between the dream world and reality and pull them in together—well, that was when I started to hear a lot of talk about how much smarter it would be to become a lawyer. I’ll confess, more than some of that talk came from me. When I was whirled into adulthood, I pulled my child self along with me, and yes, for a long while, this included childish ways. But not entirely. “The creative adult is the child who has survived,” Ursula Le Guin once said. How remarkable it is to have survived. How remarkable it is to look at the world, and to not lose all hope for the world, and to understand that the only way to contend with any of it is to the know the God to whom it all belongs. When I became a woman, it was not because I turned 18 or 32, not because I got a real job or learned to walk away from creativity and dreams, but because I surrendered to the God who made all of me and learned to let Him teach me what was worth holding onto.

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