Embracing Your Inner Child
I spent the last 30 years pouring my heart into teaching children about the love of Jesus, but I have never paid attention to one child in my class who went unnoticed and neglected.
This child was my own inner child.
It took a recent crisis to wake me up to the reality that the child I was running from all my life desperately needed to be seen and heard by me.
In the last 12 months, I spent countless hours and a lot of dollars buying books, taking courses, listening to podcasts, meeting with two therapists, and going through an in-depth psychological evaluation.
All in an effort to find, heal, and reclaim my wounded inner child.
God has done a truly miraculous restorative work in me, which involved his love (that casts away all fear) and his truth (that sets us free).
Maybe one day, you’ll hear my testimony. Turns out that the empty tomb triumphs not only over sin and death but also over personality disorders!
However, I should mention that the science of psychology played a big role in my healing journey too. It was the therapy that helped me better understand the effects of my childhood on the rest of my life.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Hopefully to make you, curious enough to ask yourself: Do I have a child me that longs to be acknowledged and nurtured by the adult me?
I know, your heart overflows with love and care for the little ones in your class. I also know that in the midst of your efforts to guide these precious souls, there's one child that often goes unnoticed – the child within yourself.
You have an inner child that needs just as much care and attention as the children you teach.
Your inner child is the part of you that holds onto the memories, emotions, and experiences from your own childhood. It's that innocent, vulnerable, and playful part of you that requires healing and growth.
Neglecting, ignoring, or suppressing your inner child can stifle your creativity, wreak havoc in your relationships, and lead to inner turmoil. (I am living proof of that.)
Here are just five “warning lights” indicating that you need to reconnect with your inner child. I had all five of these and I ignored them for many years.
Emotional Reactions: Strong emotional reactions to certain situations, like feeling overly angry or sad or shut down, can be a sign that your inner child is reacting to past experiences.
Repetitive Patterns: Repeating patterns of behavior or relationships that don't serve you well might be linked to unresolved childhood issues.
Unexplained Fears: Unexplained fears or anxieties that seem to have no current reason can often be connected to past childhood experiences.
Low Self-Esteem: Feeling unworthy or lacking self-confidence may be linked to past experiences or negative messages you received as a child.
Avoidance: Avoiding situations or emotions that are reminiscent of challenging childhood experiences may be a way your inner child protects itself.
If like me, you realize that your inner child has been the most neglected child in our class, I hope you’ll take time to reacquaint yourself with that little boy or girl and make sure they receive the love and attention they so desperately need.
Just as Jesus welcomed and blessed the children who came to him, be kind enough to extend that same love and care to the child within you.
As you heal and grow, you'll be better equipped to guide the young hearts in your care toward a deeper understanding of Jesus' love.
May your journey of self-discovery and healing bring you closer to the heart of Jesus and inspire your young students to do the same.
Care to let me know how your inner child is doing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
P.S. Your inner child will love these Truth Cards that connect us to the heart and mind of God in a playful way.
P.P.S. Not sure where to start looking for your inner child? Begin with this movie. My favorite!