“Maybe someday you’ll grow up Holly.” The words stung in my ears as I thought about them later in the day. A friend and I had been talking about her boyfriend and my lack thereof and this is what she said to me as the conversation ended. Maybe someday you’ll grow up and have a boyfriend. Maybe someday your parents will let you go to a rated-R movie with us. Maybe someday you’ll be grown up like us and wear the cute new short shorts from the Buckle, and on and on the list goes. Have you ever felt like this? That people just won’t let it rest that you are different and aren’t “grown up”?
In 1 Peter 2:9 the Bible says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” God never promised that we would always fit in; in fact he told us the opposite! Many people have what I call the “Peter Pan Syndrome.” Deciding to never grow up doesn’t make us immature or stupid; quite the contrary, it makes us more mature and wise! 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’" Here are some signs of a girl with the Peter Pan syndrome:
If you remember in Peter Pan, Peter was always very sure of his abilities, whether it was battling Captain Hook or comforting Wendy. We should be the most confident (not prideful!) people around. The Hebrew writer wrote in Hebrews 10:35, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” We are going to Heaven! There should be confidence and security in that fact and we shouldn’t need anyone or anything to secure us in that.
Peter Pan was almost always joyous, whether he was singing or playing games with the Lost Boys. A girl with Peter Pan Syndrome turns heads not by her outfits but by the joy she has concerning whatever is asked of her. When everyone else is complaining about the huge science project due Friday when the teacher only assigned it two days ago, the joyous girl rallies her classmates and works hard (with joy!) on her project. The psalmist told us this joy would be evident: “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’” (Psalms 126:2) Our attitudes can show how great God is.
If you remember the movie Peter Pan you remember the image of Peter in his little green outfit leading the Lost Boys around as they sang “Following the Leader.” I remember watching Peter Pan dance around and thinking, “Wow! He’s so great, I’d follow him just about anywhere!” A girl with this syndrome is the same way; her peers trust her and know that she won’t lead them where they shouldn’t go so she becomes a natural leader. Christ tells us in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
In the second Peter Pan movie, Return to Neverland, Peter goes back to get Wendy and instead gets Jane, Wendy’s daughter, because Wendy was all grown up. Peter remembered Wendy after all those years. That’s loyalty and we should be just as loyal to our friends. In Proverbs 17:17 we’re told, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
The beauty of this Peter Pan Syndrome is that we can still have it in 50 years. It’s not confined to children or teenagers. Hopefully in 20 years I still won’t watch inappropriate movies or wear immodest clothing just because I’m an adult. Remember the words of Christ from Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” We can keep all the innocence of a child without being tainted by the world’s filthiness even at an old age and just like Peter Pan, choose to never grow up.