When I was a little boy, my great-grandma told me something I could not understand. She was 85 at the time. She said she felt like a child in an older person’s body. This idea was too deep for me at the time, as I really just wanted another cookie. But now I understand it intimately. Although I am not quite 85, I now know what it is like to feel like a child in an older person’s body. It is like the mirror is lying to me. 

I know I am no longer physically a child, but like my great-grandma, I still feel like one at a deep level. I too feel like I’m 6. I don’t completely understand this, although I suspect it has something to do with our eternal nature. However, I have learned that by embracing this inner child, I can better remain mindful throughout the day without questioning it.  

Innocence and Self-Love

I can not love my neighbor as myself if I do not love myself. I can’t give what I don’t have. And I can’t love God, who I can’t see if I don’t love my neighbor who I can see. So it all starts with me loving myself, which is possible because He first loved us. If God loves us like a child, we can rest in that love and be secure. Then we can love Him better by loving others. 

Loving myself as God loves me, means loving and seeing myself as a child. I don’t need to put on a show and present an image. I can just be myself in Him. Since his love is unconditional, He loves me just like I am. Peace does not come from our efforts to get to God; it comes by resting, with childlike innocence, in the God that is already there. And peace equals mindfulness.

Innocence and Loving Others 

If we love yourselves in the proper light, we will be able to love others too. To the degree that we have allowed Jesus to love us, to the degree that we vulnerably and humbly rest in His care, this will be the degree to which we can love others. The degree to which we are judgmental and fearful will be the degree to which we fail to love others. Loving others just as they are, unconditionally, encourages mindfulness. He covers us with peace as we cover others with peace.  

If I see myself more as a child and less an adult, I can be more graceful and loving. I can also love others better and more easily extend the benefit of the doubt because I can see them as children too. This will also help us love and forgive our neighbor better. Our society has lost much of its innocence today. It is sad. In our haste to grow up, we have grown down. I think we need more Dr. Seuss and less Doctor Phil.  

Innocence and Wonder

Growing up is learning the art of dispensing with childishness while retaining and celebrating childlikeness. Combining adult-like awareness and responsibility with childlike innocence. 

“There’s a huge difference between being childlike and being childish. When we embrace joy and look at the world with fresh eyes we’re being childlike. When we demand instant gratification and a guarantee that everything will be ok, we’re only being childish.”

Seth Godin

I can let go of my need to control everything and leave it to God. This brings essential freedom, which allows me to see more magic and wonder in the world around me. I think this is why Jesus says you must be born again. I do not believe he meant for this to be taken as a one time experience, but rather something we do every day. That we daily assume a childlike innocence and trust in God who knows every sparrow that falls to the ground.  

Letting go of our demand to control things that we can’t opens us to wonder again. We can see the world anew as a child. “See the world through the eyes of your inner child. The eyes that sparkle in awe and amazement as they see love, magic and mystery in the most ordinary things.” Henna Sohail This also contributes to mindfulness and peace.  

Innocence and Mindfulness 

At its deepest level, mindfulness is peacefulness. At its best, it is the peace that passeth understanding. It is blissful and liberating. And in meaningful ways, innocence provides the tunnel into Peace’s chamber. In childlikeness, we can, can cease striving and rest in our knowledge of God. Psalm 46:10  

By seeing and loving ourselves, we can embrace God’s love and care in simplicity as children. By viewing and loving our neighbors as children also; we can cleanse ourselves from the judgment and fear that tarnishes our love and corrodes our communities. Finally, innocence allows us to see this world, the simple and complex alike, with fresh, magical wonder.  

Maybe, as more of us actively practice loving ourselves, each other, and this beautiful life He has given us to live, we can contribute to restoring some of the innocence our community has lost. Perhaps, in our stillness, God will be exalted among the nations and will be exalted in the earth. 


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