Growing Down Author Q&A


Oct 22nd

Q&A with Michael Kelley, author of Growing Down: Unlearning Patterns of Adulthood that Keep Us From Jesus

How did you decide to write a book on this subject?

The Lord has consistently used my kids as a tool for discipleship. Sure, He uses them to grow any parent in their patience, faith, and trust, but there are other things we can learn from the simplicity, joy, and authenticity of our children. I think Jesus pointed us to this fact, and that’s one of the reasons why children are so close to the heart of God. If we want to really embrace our identities as God’s children, then I think we would do well to take a look at our own kids in the state they are before they grow up too much.


You and your wife have children, and with that responsibility, you have a front-row seat to what it means to be childlike. What is the essence of childlikeness?

Simplicity. Simple affection. Simple faith. Simple joy. As we grow older, we tend to complicate all of these things. But to be childlike is to recover this sense of simplicity in which we know that our Father loves us, will do the best for us, and will guide us in the right way.


What is the difference between “childlike” faith and “childish” faith?

There is a difference, and the Bible indicates it I think. Jesus told us to be like children, and yet Paul told us that we should put away childish things. That means there is a maturity that comes with being childlike, and an immaturity that comes with being childish. To be childlike is to be trusting, and everything else flows from there. This is the basis for everything else. The children of God know their Father, and they take Him at His word.


What does it mean to come before God over and over again not as an adult in the eyes of the world, but as a child might?

As we get older, we lose the innocence of childhood. When we come to God, we often come with prerequisites. Sure, we want to believe what Jesus says is simply true, but our experiences in the world have told us that things just don’t work as He says they do. To come to God as a child is to come, more than anything else, in faith.


What are some of the “mature” or adult-like characteristics that keep us at an arm’s length from Jesus? How have you seen these manifested in your own life and walk with the Lord?

Things like independence, cynicism, and apathy are all very common characteristics for adults. We’ve seen it all, heard it all, and been hurt by it all. I’ve often found that my relationship with God is colored by these experiences I’ve had growing up. Each one of them has told me that perhaps God cannot be trusted.


What are your hopes for this book and how readers are transformed by it?

I hope that reading this book will help readers understand to a greater extent what it means to be called a child of God. This is something we are, and yet we can further pursue—at least an ever deepening understanding of who we are in Christ. What an amazing thing it is to call God “Father” and doing so has incredible implications for how we see ourselves as well.


What message do you hope will resonate most with your readers?

We live in a world that seems overburdened with complexity. It’s the message of simplicity that I hope resonates most with readers. To simply know that God is our Father, and that we are His children.