August 28, 2012

Childhood Innocence

Innocence is a funny thing. Some people have it, some people gradually lose it, some never lose it, and some just don't have it anymore. Wherever you stand with that, one thing is for certain, children definitely have it. That is why children are so adorable. They are always inquisitive, always searching for answers, and eager to learn everything they can about the world, are they not? Children are so endearing (to most people) I think because we miss that innocence. We grow up, we have different experiences in life that mold us into a certain person. Sadly, bad experiences tend to calcify certain things in us. Those calcifications grow bigger and before we know it, we lose the childlike innocence of that aspect of our lives.

I've had experiences, just like everybody reading this, with bitterness, with rage, with feelings of injustice...and I have to admit I've let my heart harden towards certain aspects of my life. I tend to say that 'I grew up fast', and that I didn't have a choice. In some ways, that's true. Having a life threatening disease at the age of two and dealing with the side effects of that my whole existence, I had to grow up and learn how to take care of myself. My parents could only do so much. I had to get over my feelings of inadequacy and learn how to push forward without the approval of others. For the longest time, I made myself feel indifferent to my situation and what people thought of it or if people were uncomfortable around it. That has gradually developed into an acceptance sort of attitude on my part and a willingness to share with those around me. I don't necessarily bring it up into every conversation, but I am more than willing to help or share for those who can gain from my experience. I've gained a little innocence back with that as I try and see the beauty in what God has given me.

My parents went through a divorce my junior year of high school. I dealt with a ton of bitterness and anger those last couple of years. I blamed many of my problems on my dad leaving. I didn't trust him anymore, I didn't believe him anymore, and I really believed I wasn't going to continue my relationship with him. I am not completely unique in my family issues and I recognize that. But because of that bitterness I held inside of me, out of hurt pride and betrayal, I hardened my heart towards love. That is the most dangerous because I started blocking God out and relied on hardening my feelings toward feeling inadequate for somebody else.

These are only a couple of my experiences, and I'm sure you have many as well. My whole point in telling you guys these personal struggles is to emphasize the fact that I have lost my innocence towards a few things in life. I've been through it, I've struggled through it, and I enabled those calcifications to grow. Over time, they have lessened as I have grown in my relationship in Christ. I realized I was only concentrating on how these situations affected me and how I could survive through them. If I looked at the bigger picture, the outlook changes slightly. I know my dad lost his mother at a very young age and in his mind, he is doing what he thinks is right. My dad is not a bad guy, he doesn't want the worst to happen, and I know that. I also know he loved me and still does although I still don't believe it like I used to. My diabetes has humbled me in the past and I can empathize with those who deal with medical issues on a daily basis. It helped me accept who I am and work with the lot God granted me and use it for the better. That has reduced some of the things I hardened myself to (letting myself feel pain and working through it) and I've let myself feel emotion about them. That only happened through much prayer and taking delight in the miracles I encounter every day. It encourages healing and rings with the ability to stay true to God's plan for me.

My main point...we will never have a pure childhood innocence again, it's impossible with this world, but it is possible to gain that attitude back with a wiser and more experienced outlook. Enjoy the day, enjoy the sunshine, and believe in something again. Pray for peace and find the strength that has always been in you to dissolve that hardness. I'm still getting there, and I know God is the only one who can completely get me through. I'm convinced it will make a world of difference. Thanks for reading, my friends.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
-Ezekiel 36:26-27

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