I Wish I Was A Bad Kid

“I’m participating in a blog series hosted by Ally Spotts called Confessions of a 20-Something Christian, where 20-Somethings get honest about their lives, loves and regrets. My confession is…I Wish I Was  A Bad Kid.

I wanted to start this post off with Usher. Usher you ask? Why yes, Usher. You know, “these are my confessions.” Don’t lie, I know you do. As I type all I can hear is Usher singing that line over and over. You might be doing the same thing because that song was popular when we were teenagers. I do not want to go as far as to say it shaped the youth of America, but it sure came close.

See I have nothing to confess that is song worthy, or for that matter, worthy of making people gasp. If I was honest with you (which I am being right now), I kind of wish I had something that was gasp worthy. You know, a past? You ever go to church and hear people’s testimonies and be amazing at what they have gone through? It makes you feel like you have to do some bad stuff to have a powerful testimony. What do you do when your confessions are minor league in a major league world?

You have to understand something, I am not perfect nor do I claim to have it all together. I struggle with sin daily and make more mistakes then I can count. But sometimes the things that I struggle with don’t seem so bad stacked up against what I hear other people struggling with. I can go down the comparison checklist. I have never done drugs, never drank alcohol before 21, never been drunk, never had sex with a girl. Now if it was about keeping score I would assume that I would be winning. But to me that sounds a bit more like legalism then reality. A sin is a sin, and of that I am the chief.

The struggle for me is the battle of risk and reward.

I have this idea that God is in the reward business. The more I put in the slot machine the bigger reward I will receive in the end. I do not know how this came to be. Maybe it was all the time I spent getting up for church every Sunday at 6:30am, or the Wednesday night youth group meetings where I helped set up and tear down. There are probably several reasons why I view God this way. But the issue is that often times I treat God, relationships, and life like a giant reward system that will only produce something good if I give it something good.

You got time for a story? If not just skip to the next part. If so, well let me tell you about a girl I dated in high school.
At the time I was finishing my senior year and was headed into the summer with a girlfriend and a job. The girl was great, the job, not so much. I worked at a factory that made t-shirts. For 8 hours a day I stood behind an oven folding shirts that had just been pressed with the latest color or graphic for a company or sport team. I worked this job for two months and then decided one morning to quit. I couldn’t take the monotony, the routine, the country music (we listened to country music over the speaker), I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I did the only logical thing, I just didn’t show up. Yes it was probably bad that I didn’t show up, but what was the worse part was my timing. I decided to quit the week my boss was on vacation. This was a big deal because I left the factory two man short of a five man crew. Basically all business came to a halt until my bosses vacation was over. To make matters worse, my boss went to my church. Remember that girl I was dating, well that lasted about as long as my job did. In fact, she just stopped talking to me the week I decided to quit my job. How is that for karma. I remember one day driving in my parents subdivision and it all clicked with me. If I call and apologize to my boss my former girlfriend would call me back and we could date again. Well as you can imagine, that did not work. And so I was left with an awkward phone apology and no girlfriend.

If you missed the story, basically I thought I could trick God into giving me what I wanted. But the simply thing is that this “game” that I was trying to play would eventually bring me to a point of brokenness and frustration that I have never felt before. There was a time in college where I wanted to be the kid that made out with random girls, went to the bar, and cheated on his homework. I really wanted to take the easy way out, to do the things that everyone else was doing. I felt like there was something wrong with me, that I was the kid that couldn’t go outside to play because I had allergies. Looking back at those days in college I wish I did bad things. Maybe to fit in, but more to better understand grace. 

I think the Bible is pretty clear about doing sin because we can  (just read Romans), but I also think that people who have experienced grace see God differently. They understand that God is not a reward machine that gives out prizes based off how good they can be. They understand that grace is way more about a gift that you cannot earn. I have moved past wishing to be a bad kid and instead want to better understand the grace of God.

I don’t think it goes back to me wanting to be a bad kid as it is that I want to better understand grace. That I want to see God not as a vending machine but as a gift given to me that I do not deserve.

A thought to consider from Paul:  Philippians 3: 4-14

Follow the conversation on twitter by checking out this hashtag #20somethingconfession

Kyle Reed


I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack.I currently live in Nashville and walk to a coffee shop every morning.

33 responses to I Wish I Was A Bad Kid

  1. First off I was a bad kid. And when people ask me what I’ve done to deserve the things that I have or have accomplished, I tell them nothing. It’s all in view of His mercy and grace. (Romans 12:1)
    I would also add that I only have 6 months left being a 20 something and that is scary.

  2. Love this confession. I could have told a similar story years ago, and maybe if I’d heard this years ago I could still say the same: I wish I was a bad kid”. Now I say “I’m glad that I’m no longer the bad kid”.
    I still struggle with figuring out why I went down some of the paths I did. All I really know now is that I’m grateful God brought me out alive. Even with the experiences, I don’t know that I understand grace any better than if I had chosen the narrow path.
    “I don’t think it goes back to me wanting to be a bad kid as it is that I want to better understand grace.” Perfect line that really hit home for me.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Good post Kyle. I have to agree with Courtney that doing “the bad things” doesn’t mean you are better able to understand grace- those things help you have more grace for others for sure but truly understanding the grace of God on a personal heart level is long process. As a personal confession, my battle for understanding grace really involves believing what God says about me/who I am more than what I believe about myself (which can be negative at one second, narcissistic at another, but never healthy)- that he calls me his son and nothing less than that. Hope this helps.

    • “…my battle for understanding grace really involves believing what God says about me”. Awesome line. That is a continuing struggle for me as well and sometimes I feel alone in that. It’s great to be able to relate to confessions like this. Thank you.

    • Yes Nick, I am right there with you. And I think my struggle with that is often times I have a hard time viewing myself as a child of God rather then a child of what people say about me.

      It does help

  4. I was a lot like you – I was always the seemingly good kid. Never got into any big trouble, never did drugs, only got drunk once, never got in trouble with the law, I’m 31 and still a virgin (yikes!). I went through a season where I wished I had been bad, experienced what others had experienced, done the things i haven’t done. But then I realize the baggage and harm that actually comes from those things, and how much more I would have had to work through in my relationship with God and myself.

    Thanks for being honest Kyle. I know you may not have had a “great” testimony in way of coming out of the crap of drugs, alcohol, etc, but I think the testimony of a man who has followed God and tried to live his life pleasing God is much greater than the shock-and-awe testimonies.

  5. I so enjoyed reading this, therefore, I though I would let you know. Have a good day.

  6. I used to think the same thing. Understanding grace better comes with understanding just how ugly sin is. That envy is just as disgusting as adultery.

    I got your next read. It’s about the blessings of God, very fresh perspective. Good stuff as always.

  7. Ah….the “curse” of being a good kid. I was one as well. :)

    We all sin. The proud pharisee was no cleaner in the sight of God than the tax collector who stole everyone’s money. Some sin with their actions and others with just their heart. That’s something I have to realize. I may have a squeaky clean (okay, borderline boring) history but it still was my sin that slaughtered my savior. I’m still guilty. If not for Jesus, I’d be hell bound.

    Great post. :)

  8. I can totally relate to this post. I’ve spent my whole life “doing” all the right things and “not doing” all the “bad” things. I remember doing to a youth event when I was a teenager and hearing testimonies of kids that did all the “bad” stuff and began a relationship with Christ and turned their lives around and I was SO jealous that I didn’t have a “good testimony” like that. Sometimes, I still feel those pangs of envy when someone has a season of doing whatever they want and then turning their lives over to Christ….but then God reminds me of how amazing it is that I haven’t had to deal with the consequences of those “outward sins”….there are plenty of consequences when dealing with the stupid sins I do commit.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  9. I love your personality in this post, Kyle! Keep it up! It’s great to be able to relate through posts like this. Thanks

  10. I am right with you Kyle. My confession is that sometimes I wish I was one of the bad kids. I’m trying real hard to WANT more of the GLORY of God. Grace is the fuel that gets us to see His glory. And, I find when I’m focusing on pursuing His glory, I don’t really want to be a bad kid. I’m more than content being good. You rock bro!

  11. Hi Kyle,

    Thanks for sharing in Ally’s Confessions blogroll! I appreciate how you got to the root of wanting to be the bad kid – wanting to know God’s grace. It’s a mature way to look at that, and full of hope because God loves to make His grace known in each life! I think I was the good girl for so long because I felt like I owed it to God or was afraid of Him. In the past few years, I’ve had those negative views stripped away and am discovering a LOVING God. That infinite and active Love has allowed me to rest in the grace that’s for the good girls, too!


  12. soo i really appreciate this post, i randomly found it and my story is so similar to yours and it is something i still struggle with (since i am only 20). i am glad i am not the only one who struggles with the whole great testimony thing and such. even my Christian friends all “did bad things” and i havent. i think part of me is scared, the other over thinks everything and does not want to screw up the things God has planned for me more than my every day temptations, i dont want to add more.

    so thank you for this post, it made me feel a lot less alone in my life choices and struggles with wanting to be a “bad kid” while wanting to serve God at the same time. :)

  13. I always kind of wished I was the bad kid too.

    Everyone was always trying to save the bad kids, they got tons of attention and affection. I was already ok, so of course I didn’t need either of those things.

    • you still got time! I highly recommend it. I do totally think if you live the straight and narrow. You miss out on a major part of life. I mean we are in our 20s. we can do dumb stuff. We are dumb. Do it, and look back on it later in life.

  14. I’m pretty sure I would fall under the “bad kid” category. I used to struggle a lot with being around my “good friends” from church and feeling like because of my rough past that I didn’t belong around them or that I was less deserving than them. Which did not help me feel any better about myself. But having those “good kids” come into my life helped me more than they will ever know. I’m almost 100% sure that without them I wouldn’t be here today. I think we both need each other, the good kids and bad kids.

  15. The best thing I did in my life was become a bad kid and forget about religion. Because now I am free and no longer need religion!

  16. I find this post very interesting. I wish I has read it 4 years ago. I was the “good kid” that also worked their butt off in the church. I only heard peoples testimonies about they way that God saved them from a life of drugs, alcohol, and sex.
    Looking back I think I wanted the same things you did, to know God’s grace in a significant way. Sadly I went out to get one of those “intense testimonies” where God saves the person when they wake up from their drug overdoses.
    Because of that I have experienced God’s grace in deeps ways and still don’t entirely get it. But each day I find that it’s still there for me, for the big and the small things.
    Thank you for sharing, it has helped me understand the reason why I made some of the decisions I did a few years ago.

    • Nicole, thanks for sharing this with me. I really appreciate your honesty.
      I often wish I could have had this conversation with yourself (or others) 4 years ago as well.

      But thankfully there is grace upon grace

  17. One more thing!

    I think there is amazing power in a testimony of a person who has chosen to not doing anything “bad”.
    Having the ability to understand God’s grace without huge amounts of baggage to clean up is a gift that many wish they had.

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  1. | Jon Collins - October 11, 2011

    [...] “I wish I was a Bad Kid.” [...]

  2. Confessions of Our Generation | Someday We'll Know - October 26, 2011

    [...] “I wish I was a Bad Kid.” [...]

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