1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
There’s an author by the name of David Seamands who wrote a book called Putting Away Childish Things. It’s from the scripture referenced above. But what does this mean? If we are to mature we must proactively “put away” the things of our childhood- or adulthood, whatever we are holding onto- that rank higher than the Lord and His directives. Most of the time, we think this means we are to stuff them in the closet and force the door shut.
For those folks who were blessed enough to grow up in a functional home with both a mom and a dad who loved them and spent time with them, there typically just aren’t as many “childish things” to put away. They can get on with life instead of doing chores. They are blessed.
However, for many, the closet is so incredibly full of the “things”- the pains, the disappointments, the rejections, the abandonments, the betrayals. And the way they are “put away” is that they are stuffed, jam packed, into a closet and we push and shove to keep that closet shut. It takes so much energy to do this that to get on with life is certainly hampered. But how do we keep this door shut and our emotional mess hidden? We numb out. We medicate those emotions instead of dealing with them to efficiently put them away. In other words, we attempt to pretend they aren’t there so that they won’t control us. This is an illusion. Not dealing with them and putting them away as scripture suggests means that they will definitely control us.
Let’s see- how do we numb out from memories that we want to pretend don’t exist? Here are a few: alcohol, drugs, food, overly busy schedules, high drama relationships that fill up our time, television, books, shopping, affairs, speeding in the car, compulsive thinking, lots more- anything that will keep us from feeling the feelings that we are trying so hard to deny.
These are common but futile and dangerous tools that we use to run from and not deal with the truth. The truth is that we are wounded and shamed. We don’t want to face it, don’t want to feel it and don’t want to work through it. It’s the Garden of Eden over and over again, throughout every age. Where’s that stinking fig leaf when you need it anyway?
Ok, you say- I see that I have things that I’m stuffing into a closet instead of putting away nicely. But what do I do instead? Answer: quit running, don’t be afraid, get silent, let the Lord show you where He was at the time of the pain you experienced.
This is the premise of “Putting Away Childish Things”. I actually haven’t read the book for decades but the process? The process is something I am more familiar with that I’d want to admit.
Be alone. Be still. Be quiet. Let the Lord bring any memory to you that He desires. Close your eyes. Go back to that place and feel the feelings that you were experiencing at that very time. (You will be shocked at how alive they feel in you.) Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Get it out. And then ask Jesus where He was at that very time, in that very moment the event took place. He says He will never leave us for forsake us so He had to be there. Ask Him to reveal Himself within your memory. And wait on Him. Wait on Him to move within the memory and heal that memory for you. He might come to you and hold you, He might say something, He might take some other action within the scene, but He will show you He was there.
Once the emotion is gone and you’ve invited the Lord in and received Him there, then put the childish thing away and experience one more speck of maturity and freedom.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Takeaway: If we are to mature in Christ, we must put away the things of our past. Jesus was there and when He reveals Himself to us through our spirit, we are healed. Invite Him in that He may be of service. Trust your own instinct.
Prayer: Lord, heal me please. I want to put away anything in my life that is holding me back from utter freedom in You. Please help me to put away all childish motives and pains and let me operate in truth, even in this way. Thank you, Lord, for being a constant companion. Thank you for your wisdom.