Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 11: Finding the Child Within


If this were a marathon, I'd consider this my first mile marker. In case you're reading my blog for the first time this month, I've committed to blog everyday for the month of July. Yesterday, I completed Day 10, so I'm 1/3 of the way to the finish line!

I've got four sisters-friends that are joining me in this endeavor. If you have yet to read their blogs, do so today. I've thoroughly enjoyed following along with their "31 Days" journeys. They have shared many treasures from their hearts and from the heart of God. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Their blogs can be found at the following sites:

Monique Zackery: 31 Days of Victory @ http://www.moniquezackery.blogspot.com/
Sheryl Griffin: 31 Days of Hope @ http://www.sherylgriffin.blogspot.com/
Michelle Discavage: 31 Days of Wellness @ http://www.chelled.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Lain: 31 Days of Freedom @ http://www.parentpassion.com/

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For the next ten days, I'd like to get practical about finding one's purpose. We'll discuss talents, spiritual gifts, passion and personal calling. I honestly don't know where God's going to take us, but I sure hope you hang on for the ride. It's gone be good (typo intended)!

My Baby Girls: Jada, 3 and Joelle, 6

Can you remember the time when you were a little girl or boy? Your hair was in pigtails or afro puffs. Or for the guys, it was overgrown into your eyes or in a seventies afro. (Those of you still in your twenties have to come up with your own images. I can't help you out much!)

No matter how old you are, you can probably remember a time when your purpose was enjoying life. Think especially about the days of summer, when having fun was your main goal. School being out, you were free to run and play and jump and climb. You had responsibilities around the house, but everyday you dreamed of adventure and excitement.

Now without over-thinking or analyzing your response, answer this question: what did you want to be when you grew up? Stop for a moment and ponder your answer.

Now if you're like me, you may have several answers to that question. I wanted to be an airplane pilot. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a judge. The list is almost endless of the occupations I'd considered by the time I turned ten.

So, like me, you may need to dig a little deeper. What kinds of activities did you most enjoy when you were a child? What could you have done for hours on end, if you'd had the opportunity? Stop for a moment and ponder that response.

When I answer that question, I get a lot closer to the thing I was made to do. And by that I mean why I believe God created me. Of course He made me to be my husband's wife and my children's mother. He made me a daughter and a sister and a friend. There's not just one role that I'm to fill here on earth. But I do believe God gives each of us a distinct mission in this world beyond our family relationships.

And that role taps into the very desires He put into our hearts as children.

As a little girl, I never considered being a writer. When I wrote essays in school about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn't say an author. So the first question above doesn't unlock any answers. But when I answer the second question, I discover a hidden treasure. From as early as I can remember, I've kept notebooks and journals that I filled with poetry and short stories. As a child, I created commercials for products my family often used. During extended-family gatherings, my cousins and I would write and perform sitcom episodes for our parents. (I'd love to get my hands on one of those Facts of Life scripts!)



Also, I'd read for hours on end. An introvert, I'd hole myself up in my bedroom and read, read, read. I became a lover of literature, long before I knew what the word literature meant. My mother says I taught myself to read at the age of four.

So finding the child within me brings me face-to-face with a little hazel-eyed girl who loves literature. She not only loves reading it, but she has a deep longing to create it. She likes to tell stories -- be they real stories or make-believe. And she loves the magic that an amazing story brings to its hearers.

Today, take the time to get face-to-face with the little brown, green or blue-eyed girl or boy within you. What could you have been found doing for hours on end as a child? Was it throwing around a football? Was it swimming in the community pool? Was it dressing your barbie dolls or styling their hair? Was it pulling out you parents' Bible and "preaching" from it?

That little child still lives inside you today. He may be all grown up now, with a family and a job and financial responsibilities, but he's still there. Ask God to breathe life into her again. Let him run and play and jump and climb. Let her be free to be.

This summer, I've been studying the minor prophets of the Bible. In the book of Joel, the tribe of Israel endured a horrible plague of locusts. And these weren't the annoying little cicadas that my Tennessee friends dealt with this summer. These locusts caused drought and the infestation of crops and plants. They were so mighty in number and force, they darkened the sky, causing what appeared to be an eclipse. When they'd finished consuming nature, they dove into homes, overtaking any food that could be found.

A plague of locusts like the one recorded in Joel leaves its victims in desolation.

So it's with this imagery in mind that God promises to His people:
"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten."
Let's be honest. Life has beaten us up a bit since our carefree childhood days. We've endured some trials and "plagues" ourselves. We've been mistreated, misused and disregarded. Life has taken us far away from the sweet babies we once were. And some of you can't even reminisce on a carefree childhood. Your innocence was stolen from you at a very young, tender age.

Today, allow God to restore the years that swarming locusts have eaten. Let Him revitalize the fruitfulness of your life. Go to Him for the nourishment He so freely wants to provide. And though the sky has been darkened, look to Him to reveal the Sun. Look to Him to reveal the SON.

Today I'm asking God to breathe life into the little girl that still lives inside of me. Will you join me in that?

Purposed for Him,

Carla

7 comments:

  1. Oh, Carla! What a POWERFUL post! So true and encouraging!

    I always wanted to be a singer, a teacher and a secretary. I would sing into my hair brush. I would set up my stuffed animals as a classroom and I would gather a bunch of my mom's scrap papers and pile them onto a desk, pretending I was loaded down with work. haha I never once dreamed of writing but after reading your post I remembered always writing poems and enjoying my journal. In 6th grade I had so much fun writing a short story. You're right! Our childhood really does reveal a lot about what God has placed inside of us.

    Thank you for this encouragement. I'm agreeing with you in prayer to reconnect with that young girl within.

    xoxo, Monique

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  2. This post just filled my entire being with JOY! Thank you.

    Since I typically be found playing sports and such outside, I believe I am still doing that as a personal trainer! LOL!

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  3. Monique, isn't it exciting that you've done everything you dreamed of as a little girl? You're a singer, you teach when you speak and write and you were an assistant @ STBC. How cool is that? And the writing doesn't surprise me; you're already a writer. Your blogs are amazing!

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  4. Michelle, you had no idea where the sports would lead you, huh? Now you're helping others (including me) become healthier for the benefit of God's Kingdom!

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  5. At 41 I still want to find out what I would like to be if/ when I have to work! (LOL) I was "made" to be what I was from age 8 until adulthood... and even then, trying to NOT be that made me fall back on it because that's what I "knew" how to do.(This, by the way, is playing tennis). Looking hard, more than the competition and winning or all the recognitions I received, what I most enjoyed was interacting with the people around me because I mostly traveled alone and I came from a different background than all of them. The BEST thing for me was just talking away, in English or Spanish, sort of "interviewing" people (kids and their parents or coaches), because I wanted to see how life was for them. These "memories" were good company for me during "returning home" periods... and I also wrote in journals and was an avid "letter-writer" during the times before e-mail or Facebook. Got me in trouble because I started feeling very out of place with reality, as if I "were" like those other people when I was around them and then didn't know how I "really" was on my own, so when I tried to quit tennis from burnout there was confusion and fear, and I ended up going back to it. (I think of it as a curse). I am ready to just BE myself, or rather, what God wants me to be. I am focusing on getting to know more Christians and see how they are dealing with their gifts and talents for God because, yes, I (like everyone else keeping up with this blog) need to find PURPOSE. Thanks for helping readers to dig deeper. (Sorry that I type too long when I post here).

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  6. I don't mind the long posts Zarina! I appreciate knowing my blog has got you thinking and digging deeper. Keep reading. I'm asking God for some practical steps to give you folks for the next 10 Days. Thanks for reading and responding!!!

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  7. Well, thank you thank you thank you. Perfect timing for getting to think about all of this stuff (now that my family is away and there's quite a bit of "quiet time"). You are awesome! :>))

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