By Brenda Black
Just what I didn't need to hear: “You are no spring chicken.” For the record, I never wanted to be a chicken. I'd much rather be a frisky filly or a bouncing bunny or a frolicking puppy. So what if I'm not as young as I used to be. Nobody is! As a victim of chronic pain for the past two decades, I've gotten used to the aches of aging quite prematurely. But, even as the body and mind tally signs of wear and tear that come with chronology, my spirit remains eternally childlike.
Several of my much younger friends have lately begrudged the idea of crossing thresholds into adulthood that leave childhood privileges out of reach from that day forward. Big people responsibilities and careers have taken the place of youthful fun and games. As a consolation, I penned some words of encouragement to one such morphing young adult.
“I've been at this grown-up thing far longer and I still see myself as a little girl many days. Never lose that inner child -- the joy over simple things in life, the fascination and curiosity about anything new, the innocence, the faith, the creativity. We were designed from the beginning to be daughters of a King and that doesn't change with time or grey hair. I still want to run and dance and climb and sing and hold a tadpole or wade in the creek. I still love kittens and puppies and butterflies. I love the smell of a new box of crayons and given the chance will use them. I giggle with my girlfriends, sometimes think boys are the weirdest thing, feel insecure, frightened, left out. On the other extreme, sometimes I'm invincible, completely abandoned and leader of the pack. God grows us and life changes, but the great things from every phase in this life should be cherished and continued. And someday -- as grandmas, we have all the makings of being some child's best friend because we never lost sight of the little girl within.”
My own counsel got me thinking that I spend entirely too much energy on being grown up and far too little on being child like. It actually may have hit me a little before I doled out this sage old advice. Yeah, pretty sure it crossed my mind when I was jumping up and down, pumping my fist heavenward at a Winter Jam concert last week. Seated among friends in like stations of life and next to my 20-year-old son, I rocked the house with the youngest in attendance! If we would have had more room, my gal pals and I would have shown them just how much fun adults can muster! I waltzed in the house at 2:00 a.m., still singing TobyMac songs, albeit in a whisper, since my husband was sleeping like other normal adults at that hour.
Oh the joy that comes from being carefree like a child. It's the pleasure of getting closer to God than you ever can know as a rigid, guarded, prim and proper adult. One of the reasons Jesus likes children, I believe, is because they don't care what anybody else thinks. When Jesus walked this earth, they just crawled up in His lap and laughed and loved on the King of Kings. I wonder if the Lord wouldn't be thrilled if, as lumbering, weary adults, we crawled up in that lap again – spiritually speaking – and laughed and loved like Jesus and the children.
Seeing the world through a child's eye has tremendous benefits. Seeing the Lord through a child's eye brings superior pleasure. It is when we are most vulnerable, we are most teachable. We trust more completely, we love more honestly, we dance and grin and move more freely. And that makes God and us more happy.
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.'” (Luke 10:21)
I love that! I want to live in such a child-like way that I make my God and my Savior smile. I want to live more like a spring chick than an old, molting hen. And I have good reason to set such goals. Being a child of God is a gift. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a-1b)
No matter how old I get, I want to always nurture the little girl within. I want to keep her innocence as much as possible, encourage her creativity, bolster her faith and keep her young heart forever in love with the Lord. For, one day, I will see Jesus. I plan on perching this little girl right in His lap and hugging Him. And then, we're going to get up and dance!