GrOwInG uP tO bE a ChIlD

Celebration

Have you ever noticed how excited children get celebrating a birthday? Balloons, sweet icing all over faces, laughter, and bring on pin the tail on the donkey or any other silly game that will make us laugh!

Look into the eyes of a child, let that joy make you wistful. Let it make you want to splash in a rainy-day puddle, hold a balloon by a string, fly a kite, sing like a wild bird high up in a tree, or let a puppy lick your face with its soft pink tongue. Go ahead; get caught up in the wonder of living, without worrying. Celebrate, shout, and sing.

Tears

               When did we learn to hide our feelings? Why do we try? Oh, I know it’s no fun living life on your shirt-sleeve, but living life all bottled up just doesn’t work. Why do we, live life like a pop bottle, and try to keep the lid on when life shakes us up?

Yes, It takes courage to shed tears, it takes knowing we matter. Here on earth, we long for a tearless heaven, but maybe tears are a blessing wearing camouflage—a way we communicate beyond words. Pain and joy; these are uncontainable—why do we try?

Maybe children’s hearts are so tender because they haven’t learned how to keep all the fizz of life bottled up inside.

Honesty

Nor do children keep their feelings to themselves. When it hurts or doesn’t seem fair, they say so. When did we learn that it was not okay to feel deeply and know that is important? No, not all feelings are “saved and sanctified”… but our feelings tell us areas of our heart which need attention. And maybe that will mean our salvation and our eventual sanctification.

As I’ve prayer-journaled through some of my hardest moments as a wife, I have sensed God validating me, like a dear friend, helping me sift through feelings for the golden nuggets like—motivations, needing to forgive, needing to let go—instead of clenching so tightly to people and things I love. After all, a life of constantly holding our breath isn’t very fun, we need to exhale.

Play

When was the last time you listened to your inner child and obeyed that urge to color a picture, go running, read that favorite book, finish a page in your scrapbook, make a dress on your sewing machine, or just sit for a moment, and watch a bird? Who are we trying to impress being so serious?

In Ecclesiastes, it says that there is a time for everything—I guess that means, there is a time for play. Why not figure out what is fun again? (I’m saying this to myself too).

I remember as a little girl, growing up in the Michigan woods. Sometimes I took the canoe down the front hill and launched it into the wetland area that bordered our drive. I sat watching as frogs jumped and pollywogs wiggled. I picked flowers and chased butterflies. I dreamed of being an Indian princess or a frontier woman as my sisters and I designed homes from fallen branches.

And there was that special tree, with the horizontal branch just above my head. I would reach up and grasp it with my hands and work my way up the branch so I was higher off the ground, hold on tight and jump… like a bungee cord, it bounced me and I laughed and giggled. There was such joy in simplicity. I wonder where did that child-like heart go from us?

I think they’re still there, but we have to let go of the to-do list-lifestyle to find it. We have to let go of resentments, of frustrations, of tomorrows that might not come, and of people pleasing, and simply live today. Why not play with the puppy, sing out loud, listen to our favorite music and dance like you dream you could. And while we’re at it, why don’t we dance with our spouse more?

Love

Maybe my expectations for life haven’t all come true, but maybe the greatest dream is reality itself—a roof over head, a soft bed to lay in as I sleep, meaningful work, food to eat, and a family.

I marvel at the precious husband I have to share my life with, and the way he watches my eyes to interpret what I’m feeling or thinking.

As I grow older, I find myself wondering, when did we adults get so complicated? Why is what everyone else thinks so important? Why do we have to have a better home or garden? Nothing wrong with having fun and improving, but why do we compare our houses with magazine pages? If we hold our breath and never feel like we’re really living until we can get subway tiles in the kitchen, new carpet or wall to wall wood floors, we may wake up one day and realize we’ve held our breath too long and … what for?  Why not, like a child, just concern ourselves with loving and allowing ourselves to be loved by our Father-God?

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