Sunday, July 22, 2018

Like A Child

Think back to when you were a kid. I want you to think back with me – long ago. You were a little tyke back then. You most likely had at least one parent who kept you safe, gave you food, made sure the scary world “out there” didn’t get in. What was it like? Do you remember those feelings? What thoughts would go through your head every morning? What made you excited? Did birthdays and Christmas seem like a big deal?

Fast-forward several years. Past those awkward years, past those sad years, past those years of pushing towards a dream, past those years of defeat and heartache, all the way up until today. Right now. Take a deep breath. What is it like? Do you recognize your feelings? What thoughts are going through your head every morning? What makes you excited? Do birthdays and Christmas seem like a big deal?

Chances are, the world seems much bleaker than it did “back then.” Back when you were upset you couldn’t sit in the front seat, yet forgot about it the minute you got home and realized there were homemade cookies for dessert. Back when you’d go to bed dreaming of dragons and fairytales and wake up to build castles and forts. Back when the world seemed huge and the possibilities seemed endless.

A tear begins to form as you remember. Even though you gave up remembering a long time ago, knowing you could never get those feelings back, the longing is still there. Suppressed, but there.

Keep reliving those moments.

A sleepover was never ending – it seemed as if you could be with your friends forever. A day at work with dad was the best. You felt grownup, huge, important, like you mattered and life took notice of you. You wanted to be an astronaut. Or a fireman. Or a ship captain. Or a pilot. You would spend days talking and dreaming of being a hero, somehow, some way.

You would lay awake at night, staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars twinkling on the ceiling. Just thinking. You would come up with the randomest questions, like, how do oceans never freeze? And why does the house creak at night? How do clouds stay in the air? You were curious.

You would terrify yourself with thoughts of wolf attacks or escaping burning buildings, spending hours on intricate details in your imagination to make sure you made it out alive no matter what. Birthdays were the most amazing thing in the world and Christmas. Well, Christmas was full of magic and warmth. The cozy hours spent by the fireplace in fuzzy pajamas, talking and reading and stringing popcorn while listening to Christmas stories. The hiss and crackle of the fire, the gentle glow of the lights, the glitter of tinsel, the age old Story being retold with the nativity, and the snow softly falling outside swirled into a snow globe of memories.

Little moments mattered. You remember to this day when your parents let you sleep in their bed during that thunderstorm. You remember your Beanie babies, along with each of their names. The adventures you shared will be cherished forever. That time dad let you steer the car, the moment you got that birthday present you’d been wanting “forever.” The time you could spend building wooden toys with your grandpa. The time you were surprised with the pet you’d been hoping for and dreaming of. All those moments that left an indelible etch in your memory.

And then somewhere, somehow, as those childhood years stretched further and further along the line of time known as life, things changed. Life became a battle instead of an adventure. Reality was brutal, dreams took a lot of work, and your heart was inevitably broken.

For our hearts are fragile things you see. It only takes one heartbreak for the pain to leave an eternal scar. Little by little, as the heart gets hurt again, and again, and again, a little part of our intrepid spirit dies. The you who once felt fearless a world filled with dragons and knights, now holds back. When you were a kid, the impossible was a mere nudge of the imagination away from reality. But you learned not to tell grownups about your plans, because they would laugh and pat your head.

You’ve been told no. You’ve been told you can’t. You’re not smart enough. You’re not pretty enough. Your pants are too small and your heart is too big. You’re… and the list goes on. First, other people said it. Then after some time, you agreed.

We all want to feel the love and security we used to know. We all want to gain the victories we used to know – we were undefeated in our imaginations. We want to feel beautiful and attractive, handsome and smart, just like we did before we were told otherwise. We all want to wake up in the morning simply excited for a brand new day to be alive. We all want to feel the magic of Christmas and the breathtaking moments along life’s journey.

No wonder Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven will be for those with a childlike heart. No longer will we look at Instagram to gain affirmation, no longer will we take no as an answer for the dream God has placed in our hearts, no longer will we focus on money and self-made goals while relationships slip away.

I challenge you, tear into your life and strip away every single thing that is holding you back from reaching the fulfillment God has promised you. He wants to satisfy you with good things, “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:5) He is longing to “To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15) He wants us to delight in Him, and He will give us all the desires of our hearts! (Psalm 37:4)

So you’ve seen the problem, you’ve seen the goal, and now you’ve seen the roadblock. What does it take to succeed?

If you want healthy self-esteem, read what the Lord God Almighty has to say. The Creator of YOU, the One who lovingly, thoughtfully, and purposefully crafted you in His image. Read His love letter, the Bible. Every time you hear those negative voices of doubt and shame, yell “Get behind me Satan for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139:14) He has fashioned you with His hands, He knew your name before you were thought of, He has etched your story in eternity. You are important to God… Just. The. Way. You. Are. You are His perfect work of art.

If you want to see your dreams come true, cast them at the feet of the One who gave them to you! Rend your heart open before the Lord and ask Him to dream His dreams through you. Make yourself a vessel for God’s dreams. Stop graveling in the muck of past defeat when God has so many plans for your life. He wants to live His dreams through you.

When was the last time you read His Word to you? When was the last time you opened your hands toward Heaven and begged for His Spirit to cast out every demon of defeat in your life?

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