When I was a little girl I remember that right before a big storm, when the sky was dark and the flood gates were moments away from opening my mom would present us with a proposition.
She would challenge us to try and run across the yard to the fence and back before the rain started. As silly as it sounds whenever the chance presented itself we would always say yes. Sometimes she would run with us and other times she would stand on the back porch and laugh as we tried to touch the fence and get back to the house.
I used to really miss those days. Days where I was just a kid, waiting to grow up. The days where I would feel so free running through the grass as the sky got dark and the rain got closer. I felt so alive in those moments.
Moments where all we cared about, my siblings and I, was making my mom laugh and reaching the fence and then the house before the rain reached us. Sometimes we were successful and we'd barrel into the house one after another, out of breath but full on joy.
We had less worries back then. We didn't care so much about messing up our clothes or pulling out our phones so that we could put it on snapchat or about feeling or looking stupid. We would just run.
The reason I say that I used to miss those days is because I recently realized that the freedom of being a child does not have to be lost in adulthood. Children are free, in my opinion because they're trusting, they see the best in people and the situations they're placed in. Children don't search for faults but rather search for opportunities to love.
When I was a kid and my mom told us to run through the grass, right before the craziness of a storm, we didn't stop and ask her what her intentions were. It never crossed our minds that we could get hurt running or that she might lock us out of the house or make fun of us for doing something so silly. We were kids and she was our mom, we trusted her, no questions asked.
I'm not saying that as adults we need to be 100% free and trusting of every situation and person that comes our way. I'm saying that if someone tells you that they're not going anywhere, that they care about you, that they want to invest in you, believe them.
Give them a chance to show you that if they send you out into the yard, with the impending storm only moments away, that they won't shut the door as you race back.
Relationships are tricky. They are tricky all by themselves without any additional baggage or weirdness but when we add fear to the mix, when we add the skepticism that adulthood often brings we make things even more difficult.
I wonder how our relationships, my relationships, would be different if we entered them with childlike faith, childlike trust, childlike love.
Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 18, that unless they were to change and become like little children they would never enter into the kingdom of heaven. I've spent a lot of time thinking about that scripture and what I can say for certain is that I know that Jesus wasn't telling them to go backwards in their development or to start dressing like kids.
I think that Jesus was presenting them with a very clear and tangible example of living a life without fear. A life that is free to love, to be loved, to trust and to have faith...the life of a child.
How would you love differently if you did so without any fear? Don't just skim by that question, I want you to really think about it. What would be different in your life if you loved without any concern of rejection or humiliation but rather an openness to the possibilities that life had to offer you.
I'm still setting my intentions for the new year but something that's very high on my list is opening my heart and my life up to the love that I deserve. So often I shy away from things that are real. I tend to settle for the mediocrity of average relationships and that's not something I'm willing to do anymore. I'm not willing to miss what's real for the comfort and safety of the superficial.
So continuing with the theme of preparing for the life that we want in 2017, I say to the grave with fear. Lets put fear to death and embrace the freedom and the hope that comes from loving like a child.
"There is an endless possibility for God to create a world within us, a world transformed through the bravery of perfect love."