This will be a very simple, fairly short, post. A few days ago I posted “How to be Great!” challenging all of us, Gentle Reader, to increase our awareness of the Intimate and Immediate Presence of God through developing (or rediscovering) simple childlike trust, and applying that to Our Father.
I phrased this thought in a comment below the post, thus:
“[Our Father] has LOTS of children! … It goes on and on and on. All it takes to enjoy that play… those warm strong arms and hands… is a brisk sprint and the flying leap in His direction, trusting that He catch you. He ALWAYS does. He ALWAYS has. He ALWAYS will.”
Our Father delights in children. I’ve said before that the single unrelenting truth I see repeated throughout the Bible from one end to the other, is the ongoing saga of God seeking to live intimately among His children… to provide for us, care for us, protect us, love us… and our equally unrelenting determination to resist or eventually sabotage His efforts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But here’s a critical thing I neglected to mention in the challenge to Trust…
In order to know that experience… of being caught and cherished in Our Father’s strong warm arms and hands… we MUST first make that flying leap of faith.
What’s worse… Only our Inner Child can do that!
Think about it. How likely are you, or me, or anyone else… to get a sprinting running start, and then leap out into empty space? How silly do/would we feel? Ever gone to one of those… (I’ve thought of several adjectives to insert right here, but I’m resisting the impulse)... “Teamwork Building Workshops” in management or an organization? You know… the ones with the obstacle course, the ropes course, the puzzles to work out? The ones where you do the “Trust Fall” and let yourself Nestea-Plunge backwards in the hope that your colleagues and teammates will catch you, preventing a heart-stopping diaphragm-paralyzing fall that puts you in traction for a week? Ever been there? So… how silly does all that feel?
You have to “change gears” to get into all that. You have to “shift into Game-Mode”. Remember the folks who seemed to be having a great time, and did pretty well? Then, remember the grumps who just stood off to the side, arms crossed, shaking their heads at all this “waste-of-time-foolishness”?
What’s the difference between those two groups?
The first have discovered and liberated their Inner Child. The second, have him/her locked in their room for the duration (of life).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So what has any of this got to do with Prayer, with the Bible, with Jesus, Little Monk?
Just this… does God love us any less when we grieve and confine our Inner Child? No. He loves us just the same.
Is there anything “wrong” with behaving like a mature, sensible adult in our lives? No, of course not… that’s why we bother to grow up at all!
Then what are you talking about?
Our upbringings… our parents, mentors, teachers, school, religion… teach us “Da Rules” to constrain and conform our Inner Child to adult norms of behavior. (That is a GOOD thing. Inner Child, left to his/her own devices can become a selfish little monster.) Inner Child is that essence of the “self alone”, of “me”, of “my”, without much regard for others except as they bring us comfort or pleasure. Our “Inner Parent” is the authority, the Rulegiver, the programming we carry with us telling us all the objective standards for right, wrong, acceptable, unacceptable, and what makes us OK or not.
As we grow and develop, these interactions go along, and we become the “Inner Adult”… the personal voice of judgment, reason, consideration, and decision-making on what we do, what priorities we set, what values we adopt, and how we choose to live.
Sooo… this leads into Jesus… how, exactly?
Just this. We can become utterly addicted to our Inner Adult. We can, gradually, surreptitiously, become convinced that our own judgment… our own thinking… our own reason… is the only trustworthy criterion we have for choosing lifestyle. And, to be perfectly frank… Jesus “won’t fit” inside that paradigm at all.
Jesus can certainly “work with” it. We can “believe” in Him with our head. And we can “confess Him” with our mouth. And thus… assuredly… we can be “saved”.
Is that enough?
Yes. Yes it is. That “saves… from the pains of the second death and fires of hell”. We can say all the Roman Road “magic words”… confess our sins, ask Him into our hearts and lives, declare our willingness to be His, and He is EVER and ALWAYS faithful to take that offer, redeem us, and declare us His forever. Yes.
At that point… at that moment… we are “safe forever” from the Father’s Wrath and Punishment Due Our Sin! Yes.
But again, I ask… Is that enough? Is that enough for you? Was it enough for me?
It was not. I want/wanted more. I want/wanted all God has/had/will ever have for me. I want to love God with ALL my heart, mind, strength… to love as Jesus loves… I want so much MORE than “enough”.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And then one day, God answered the “desire of my heart”. He issued a challenge, I responded, and everything changed. I’m not going to tell you “how that went down” for me, because such words create an expectation that that’s how it “should go down” for anyone or everyone else, and that’s just not true. HOW such things progress is individual… as the Holy Spirit ushers one’s own soul along the right path.
But here was the challenge…
“Only one’s Inner Child can make the leap of faith… the Trust… that you crave, Little Monk. Put aside, for the moment, all that you know… all that you think… all that maturity and training you’ve worked to endure… embrace your Inner Child, and give that permission to leap… unrestrained… into the Void calling My Name. I shall catch you… every single time. There is nothing to fear.”
[NOTE: Please bear in mind, Gentle Reader… though this should go without saying… I speak here of a Prayer Event… a metaphorical leap. This is an experience of meditation and prayer. This has nothing to do with children’s tying a towel around their necks, and plunging off the garage eaves! Please step off no roofs, climb from no boats in deep water expecting to walk ashore… None of that, to be taken from this post!]
There is nothing WRONG with our Inner Adult. But he/she is “limited” by the horizons and boundaries of our own minds and hearts. Only when we embrace and accept our own Inner Child… allowing him/her access to our prayer lives, will we discover the trusting Leap of Faith.
I am reminded of an instruction oft-repeated to me years ago, long before I came to understand it…
“Please stop trying so hard to be Jesus. Only Jesus can be Jesus. Instead, just try to LET Jesus be Jesus IN you, because only He can.”
Jesus never lost His embrace of His Inner Child. His Inner Child always knew the Joy and Love of Our Father!
Now, Gentle Reader… go “play” for a bit!