I want to start off this blog by asking you all to cast your eyes to the screens and take a watch of this short clip from one of Ellen Degeneres’ stand-up shows. Fast forward to about 6:01 minutes into the video, watch to the end, chuckle and enjoy! Now Ellen is one of my favourite people on God’s green earth and I love pretty much everything she does, but this particular show, and this particular clip, shows what I think she is best at. Making you laugh (literally out loud) at the same time as hitting you with some rather beautiful truth bombs. What she says in this clip about our inner children is really interesting, and something that I think deserves a little further pondering.
I wonder if you’ve ever thought much about your inner child. Whether you ever address your inner child like Ellen does in the clip. Or whether you have even written a younger version of yourself a letter (like one of my other favourite people on the planet, Miranda Hart, does in her autobiography). You may have never thought about the idea that you have an inner child ever before. Well, whatever camp you fall into I would encourage you to carry on reading and ponder with me as I explore what it is to look after your inner child.
Let me introduce my inner child to you a little bit (although if you know me well you’ll probably already recognise her!). My inner child is 16, she is adventurous, excitable, passionate, she giggles (at inappropriate things), she is fearless, she loves the company of other people, she talks nonstop, she trusts implicitly and she has a thirst for justice and sense of right and wrong that can only come with being 16. I love my inner child, she can be the very best of me. But she isn’t perfect, she’s 16, she is full of teenage angst, she is moody, she can be immature and selfish, she is naïve, she is recklessly impulsive, she wears her heart and her hurts on her sleeve, and has all the passions, anger and rage of youth. Although I love her, she makes it difficult to like her sometimes.
Now before I scare you away from my blog forever, please believe that this is not me exhibiting schizophrenic tendencies or admitting to having a split personality, this is simply me writing about a large part of my normal personality that I identify as being a child. Why is she 16? Well when my mum got ill and died I had to grow up really quickly, and I did, except for a little bit of me that I think will stay forever 16. She is part of me and I am aware of her on a daily basis. So that’s me and my mini me, what about you and your inner child? What are they like?
Now disagree with me by all means, but I think our inner children are hugely important aspects of who we are and if aren’t aware of them or deny them in some way, then the only people we are hurting are ourselves. Like Ellen talks about in the clip, a bored inner child can keep you up at night because they haven’t had enough of a chance to play and find excitement during the day. And whose fault is it? Ours! As we get older we lose so much of the wonder that we once had as children. The wonder that kept us running back to that same tree that we knew we couldn’t climb, but believed that this time we could. The wonder that drove us to always ask why. The wonder that kept us playing in the same box (read: rocket, boat, car, house, cave) all day. The world and our passing years grind the wonder and joy of our childhood out of us. But guess what? We are the same people we were when we were children, we’re just slightly bigger, hairier versions of them and so the joy and the wonder are still possible! That is why I believe we have an inner child. Children know how to find wonder and be properly in awe of this world, and so as adults we need to look to our inner child to help us.
Do you know what else children are better at? Connecting with God! Children don’t have the worries of the world to drag their eyes away from God. A child’s simple trust and questioning nature go hand in hand with faith in a God that we can’t even begin to understand. Jesus said it himself “ Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15) Could it be that reconnecting with your inner child could be the means to a simpler and more honest relationship with God?
So what is your inner child saying to you today? I dare you to listen to them, maybe for the first time. Maybe your inner child is bored, perhaps you have lost the wonder and excitement you once had and they are trying to make you realise once again how amazing this world can be. Let them show you how to have fun again! Maybe your inner child is shouting at you about an injustice that you have witnessed. Children have a wonderful sense of right and wrong and a knack for making sure everyone is aware of it. Is your inner child challenging you to stand up for the injustices that you would otherwise just accept as part and parcel of a fallen world? Maybe your inner child isn’t very happy and alerting you to the fact that you aren’t either. Perhaps you need the guts and humility to approach your heavenly father as a child and allow him to hold and comfort you (16 year old Lex has been teaching me this again today).
Whatever you inner child may be whispering (or shouting) to you today, I encourage you to pay attention. We need to learn to look after these precious and vulnerable parts of ourselves, you wouldn’t ignore a crying baby or shouting child, well don’t ignore the child in you, its probably the most honest part of you! As I finish, I pray that we would not be like Jesus’ disciples shooing children away from him, I pray that instead we listen to Jesus’ words and let the little children come to him.
Lex (and Ali [16 year old Lex]) xx