Cotton Wool Kids – When ‘playing it safe’ cripples your growth

“You can’t cotton wool kids” are words used by older, wiser people when your kids do stupid things.

Remember when you were a kid and you fell off your bike? I do. Well, it wasn’t my bike, it was my big sister’s bike. Of course, it was way too big for me, but that didn’t matter, I wanted to ride that big, shiny purple dream and show off my new skills to my best friend.

Why? Because my big sister’s bike had one thing that my baby bike didn’t have. Gears. Gears equals not having to pedal so hard to go faster. Happy days!

So, as I reached 88mph down the freshly gravelled road (remember that fact) and a bolt of lightning struck the clock tower and hit the bike, propelling me into the future…hold on, that’s not what happened.

Sorry, I was confused there for a moment…


Firstly, I wasn’t going that fast, although it sure felt like it as my right knee and the side of my head made contact with the ground and my sister’s bike skidded along with me, (I still have the scars to prove it.)

Anyway, remember I mentioned earlier, the freshly gravelled road? Yeah, well when I eventually came to a stop, bits of gravel were so deeply imbedded into my knee and head, my best friend nearly passed out from the sight of the large pool of blood I was laying in.

My Evil Knievel stunt days were over, as I had one hospital visit and stitches in my right knee and head to prove it. No helmet, no knee pads because those were for sissy’s. And as the wise, older people pointed out to my parents, “You can’t cotton wool kids.”


Looking back on those years in my childhood, made me think about all the scrapes and bruises I survived. All the times I didn’t hesitate when a challenge came my way. Where ‘playing it safe’ wasn’t in the equation as I tried new things and pushed the limits of my capabilities.

So, why has ‘playing it safe’ become part of my Christian walk? Why have I wrapped my relationship with Jesus in cotton wool?

He tells me in John 16:33, “You will have trouble in this world, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” And He reminds me in Joshua 1:6 to be, “Be strong and courageous” Clearly, God doesn’t want to wrap us in cotton wool because He knows it cripples our growth.

Still, we want to take the easy road, you know, the one that isn’t freshly gravelled so we don’t get hurt when we take our feet off the peddles and race carefree with Jesus into our future.

I want to play it safe. And so do you.

But that’s not how a relationship with Jesus works.


You live your day to day wondering what will happen next. It goes from watching Him turn your 5 loaves and 2 fish into a morning tea that feeds 5,000 people, to standing in wonder as He heals broken people and restores that which was lost.

After that, you listen in awe as He reveals more of Himself to you through His stories. And you marvel that He went to a place called Calvary and died a horrible death, so you could live forever with Him in Heaven.

That’s what a real relationship with Jesus looks like.

We have to stop wrapping our faith in cotton wool. We have to stop ‘playing it safe’ and step out of the boat, just like Peter did and walk on water if we’re to grow.

The miracles are on the edge of that freshly gravelled road, my friend, not in the middle where the sissy ‘play-it-safer’s’ are.

So, take a deep breath and grab the handle bars of your big sister’s bike. Because, when you push the limits and go 88mph into your future with Jesus, you’ll be in for the most wild, exciting, faith growing ride of your life!

Wendy xo












Wendy Parker

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