Return to Childhood

I love watching little children, their simplicity is beautiful. They forgive and forget in seconds, they are perpetually happy often in fits of giggles over the most mundane delight. They have boundless energy, tearing off in a matter of seconds off on a new adventure with an exhausted mother frantically chasing after them. Most of all, I love that kids love, they love everyone, no prejudice, no bias, no hidden motives or unethical intentions, they are genuine through and through.

For children, they do what brings them joy, what comes naturally to them, not yet affected by the pressures of their life, their desires are pure and natural. When I was a child, I wanted to act, I loved to express myself creatively. I enjoyed reading and writing and enjoyed spending time in nature. As I grew up, I was in a number of plays that I absolutely enjoyed. But, I put away the dream of acting for more sensible pursuits, a career where I could actually make a living and use a college degree.

Now as an adult, I examine my life and realize the things that bring me the most joy are the activities I did as a child. As children, it is clear what bring us joy, our passions. Yet as we grow older we exchange our childlike pursuits for what well meaning parents advise, teachers recommend and what is attractive to society. We absorb all these ideas and adopt them as our own forgetting the beautiful simple joys of childhood.

What if we returned? Left the grown up expectations and mindset by the wayside and returned to the simplicity of childhood joy. Basic. Simple. Fulfilling.

As a child, I was really adventurous, I used to jump off of anything with some height to it, jungle gyms, grocery carts, swings mid flight, everything. Much to my mother’s horror, I just would not stop, I was fearless, bold and unstoppable. I broke my arm three times as a child, the pain and the surprise of breaking my limbs never stopped me, I was determined to fly and to adventure. Somewhere in middle school, my wings got clipped. I started to feel insecure and desperate to please others with who I was and my accomplishments. I learned quickly what was acceptable and what was not and succumbed quickly. Later in life, I learned the lesson you are a slave of whatever and whomever you choose to obey. People are harsh slavemasters, never satisfied and rarely pleased. People pleasing is a circle of hurt, imperfect people influencing and creating other hurt, imperfect people, all who pass around their different mutations of dysfunction like gifts on Christmas morning.

So what is the answer? The answer is to simply to bow out, excuse yourself from the circus, exit the dance floor and interrupt the soundtrack of your life and adopt something else entirely. Return to a time when as a child where love reigned supreme. When there was nothing that could not be done and your heart’s desires were pure and given from God not tainted by other’s expectations and failed accomplishments. Maybe you are so far gone, you are not even sure what it would mean to return to childhood. It requires an unlearning of damaging lessons, an undoing of knots and releasing habits and thoughts that do not serve you.

Life is not meant to be complicated, we make it so. Embrace simplicity of life with intention, purity and peace.

Please know I am not suggesting that you act in an immature way or engage in destructive behaviors as an adult but I am asking you to take a step back to childhood, to developing a mind of love, forgiveness, peace and goodness. To return to the activities, thoughts and vision that ignite your heart and your soul. Do more of the things that you would do if no one paid you and it was not appreciated by the adult world. To not seek approval from others but only from the God who made you because this is where true happiness lies.

Good Dirt

I am not extremely familiar with horticulture but I am pretty familiar with the basics. The cycle of horticulture is standard, the cycle of planting, tending, watering, growing, pruning and harvesting. This concept is a powerful analogy of the concept of our lives. In the lives of humans, ideas, habits, mindsets, activities are planted in our lives either through things we have adopted through experiences like family or environment, things we have learned and adopted along the way. These systems will inevitably produce a harvest, one that we appreciate or one that we struggle with. When these new habits or thoughts are presented to our lives, we often do not give much thought to the outcome, perhaps at the time it addresses a need or seems like a worthy pastime.

I remember when I started feeling anxious as a child. It was all tied to my mother. As a precocious only child raised by a single mother, I viewed my parent as my only lifeline and I constantly worried something would happen to her. I remember fearfully looking out a large picture window in the living room of our flat waiting for my mom to arrive home. My ten year old mind would race fearing she had been in a car accident or accosted by an armed person because she should have been home ten minutes ago. Each night, she would arrive home a few minutes later and I would breathe a huge sigh of relief. This went on for years and my fears graduated to what people thought of me, my future, my job, my safety, and anything else I could find to be afraid of. In retrospect, I never learned the skill of acknowledging and addressing fear in a positive manner. I never challenged the fear with trust or love. And so it grew, like a seed planted, I watered it with insecurity, fear, ignorance and consistency. As an adult in her thirties, I bore the harvest of years of unaddressed fears. I suffered anxiety attacks every day and would sleep for hours just to escape the thoughts. Sometimes, I would wake up and mercifully, I could function for awhile, most often I could not, they would instantly return.

Through misery and pain, I learned something had to change and it needed to be me. I began to plant different seeds through actively seeking a relationship with God, facing my vulnerabilities and dysfunctions, allowing God to heal my insecurities and destroy lies with truth. It was a slow process, too slow for my liking. But, we must understand planting and harvesting is a slow process despite the desire for immediate results.

God’s process is so much better than immediate results. It was four years before I started to feel some substantive relief But, during that time, I experienced the most ugly and beautiful time of my life as I clung to God as the only lifeline who could help me. God rooted me in Him, I can never fool myself into thinking I did anything, during those four years I was sustained by God. Not only did I keep my job but I thrived in my job, received a promotion and received awards for the work I had done. Simultaneously, I became the president of a non profit organization with over 150 members and managed a team of 12 board members, all while experiencing the most challenging season of my life. In hindsight, it is incredible and glorious to see the favor of God in your life even as you struggle.

Every day, you are planting with the thoughts you think, the activities you do, the people you spend time with and the words you say. Make them good, make them holy so it will reap and incredible harvest. A good question to ask, is will this thought, person or experience bring me a positive result in the future? Or negative? Then with your knowledge make a choice.

the Bible says, “the power of life and death is in the power of the tongue and those that love it, shall eat its fruit, Proverbs 18:21. In Deuteronomy 30:19-20 it says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”

We make choices every day, recognize that choices are connected to the future, they have promissory notes that state, if you do this, this will happen or if you select this, that will happen. Choose that which will serve God and bring life. Choose wisely.