The Sad Switch

They got me! Those darn kids did it! I’m such a sucker!

For the last 5 nights, I’ve seen sparkle, delight and innate wild enthusiasm from the kids of our church’s Vacation Bible School.

Actually, I didn’t see it, Daniel did.

I agreed to play Daniel (of the Lion’s Den fame) in a series of skits for VBS. It was a week’s worth of story-line, 4 shows a night. I shared the ‘palace’ (stage) with our Pastor Tim Soule, as the over-the-top, comic-relief, high chief of staff, Ashpenaz.

It truly was the highlight of my day to interact and enjoy the responses of our little friends.

Full Belly Laughing!

Screams of Delight!

Shrieks of Terror!

Stunned Wonder!


Hugs and Hugs and High Fives!

What really gets me is this:

I am no great actor (Pastor Tim, IS!) and yet the grip that the plays had on our little friends was amazing!

They could see that I was just Aaron, and that we were in a regular room in the church. Our costumes were basic, we barely rehearsed. We couldn’t hide the big TV screen that we used to show the script (so we didn’t have to memorize). Sometimes the ‘surprise’ entrance was foiled by sharp eyes looking out the crack in the door.

Not everything was perfect, in fact far from it.

Yet the 80 or so 4-9 year olds, let this world of the Palace and Ashpenaz and Daniel and Prayer and Lions and the Love of God completely engulf their reality for the 18 minutes (or more) that they were with us.

So when do we switch?

When do we lose that?

I first heard from Dr. Wayne Dyer that the word ‘enthusiasm’ has roots in the Greek version of éntheos  which means, ‘having God within’.

Wow. That is EXACTLY what I saw all week long in these little kiddos.

They were Full of God! They were rich in Spirit! They overflowed with ‘Entheos-iasm’!!

A few examples just for fun:

One night, a little girl, flat out guffawed at almost ANYTHING that was said. She just cackle-laughed and cracked up at everything! She also hugged me every time she left.

On the night we focused on fears, a Bunch of the kids answered that they weren’t scared of Anything!! The tribe leaders would offer up common creepies, like snakes and spiders as possible reasons for fear… hmm, wonder where we get that?? 🙂

On the night of loneliness, they were somber, and honest, and almost everyone admitted to having lonely feelings, in front of their friends, out loud, with sincere hearts.

Sometimes they had serious questions about the story they just couldn’t hold in. They shouted out, they got involved, they cared.

And on our 4th night, as Ashpenaz arrested me for praying to God, during the king’s ban on it, the whole group turned on him! They were shouting “Meanie!!”, “We Won’t Pray to Your King!”, “We’ll Only Pray to God!”, when he explained that they would be thrown to the Lion’s Den????? They Yelled, “YEAH! YEAH! We’ll Go the Lion’s Den, YEAH!!!”

We even heard a little guy ask “Is this really real?”, as Daniel was hauled off. 

Wow. That’s Right. At some point in our young little lives, we all were full of this energy, this spirit, this all-in-ness.

It’s so contagious that I’ve been ecstatic about the experience all week long.

Yet the question I’m posing with the title of “The Sad Switch” is this:

When the Sad Switch gets flipped; in that, the switch from living enthusiastically, to living self-consciously, worried about what others think, not wanting to play along with make-believe, and being constantly aware of ‘reality’ instead of possibility and imagination…


I’m stating a FACT, that it’s Bad. It’s Sad. It’s what keeps us stuck. It causes our problems, it doesn’t keep us safe from risk, or from truths or the realities of the world. Our pride in our own ability to foresee problems and play it safe, or be conservative, just gives us a stagnant life of living in the bleachers.

These kids showed they hadn’t flipped that switch yet. They were all-out, all-in. Even as the audience of our plays, they were living in it with us. They couldn’t help but be right in the middle of the action, on the court, they bought-in, they went there, fully present, alive!

So they got to go on a fantastic ride for the whole week. Every kid had an adventure this week, right in our midst, right in our ‘normal world.’ They know how to rise up. They still remember, even subconsciously, that God has created a vibrant world of possibility, that we can choose to see, or choose to not see.

It’s up to us.

So! Has your Sad Switch been flipped? I remember mine flipping somewhere around 5th grade. The rules seemed to change. I felt something shift. It seemed like letting go of ‘kid’s stuff’ and becoming more grown-up, was a good thing… Oops.

Now that I saw our more raw form grouped up and screaming, wildly laughing, and sincerely hugging Daniel on their way out the door. I’m elated to share with you that I’ll be letting that switch more easily flip back. My tight grip on fitting-in or living properly, is… well… actually… I already wore it out a couple years ago… Now I know it’s true value.

Homework: Wonder and delight about something small. There is something right now, that you can see with your eyes, yet you know is too amazing to explain. Maybe a picture of a cute little nephew, or the astounding technology that allows you to connect with people around the world, or maybe, just maybe (if you flip that Sad Switch back to original position), you can see your own self as ASTONISHING, as Beautiful, as a divine child of the one true God. You can be entheos-iastic, about YOU!

Then the world around you smiles, it laughs, it hugs, it feels real good 🙂


Aaron Nichols

PS – Awesome THANK YOU to Debbie Soule for inviting me to play this role – She’s had a profound impact me. She’s seen a wider scope of my abilities, than I ever could have.

When someone asks you to try something you’re afraid of…

Take the Invitation. 🙂



3 thoughts on “The Sad Switch

  1. Totally awesome – so proud of you!! You did a little acting in the past – long time ago – and always thought you had that talent!!

  2. I would love to see a video clip of Daniel! Being around young kids is good for the soul, it brings back a refreshing reminder of the simplicity that life can be if we let it, that the big things are really small and the best of life is lived from the unfiltered heart speaking.

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