Like Little Children

Why so serious?” – The Joker (The Dark Knight 2)

Do you ever let yourself relax enough to feel like a kid, again? Do you splash in puddles, or do you complain every time it rains? Do you ever run away from your significant other, sing-songing, “You can’t catch me!“, or are you too worried about what others might think?

Like Little Children | Life, Unleashed

As adults, for whatever reason, we seem to lose our ability to play. Instead, life becomes serious, and we worry about keeping up appearances.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says that, in order to get into heaven, we need to become like little children {note: He doesn’t say become children, but become like little children}. And what I believe He’s getting at, here, is that we need a renewed sense of awe & wonder.

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous sunset, and marveled at God’s artistic talent? I like to think of the sky as His great big canvas, and the sunsets as His works of art displayed for us to gush over!

Have you ever laid outside at night and watched the stars, and felt overwhelmed by the wonders of how deep and wide the universe actually is? It’s so mind-boggling, because our tiny, finite minds can’t even begin to grasp its size!

When is the last time you sat down and did some finger-painting — just got all-out messy, without a care?

I honestly think that part of why we suffer from so much stress and anxiety is because we spend most of our time worrying, and not nearly enough time playing.

Dr. Stuart Brown has a book called, “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul“, in which he actually makes a scientific case about this… about how, when adults bring PLAY back into their lives, their health improves, their relationships improve, and more!

For me, incorporating “play” looks like taking time to color in my sketchbook, or getting creative with fingerpaints, or splashing in puddles after it rains, or climbing trees in my backyard, or rolling down the hill at the park with my kids.

Worried about grass stains, or ruining your clothes? Who cares?! Does a stain really matter in the grand scheme of things? Isn’t enjoying your LIFE far more important? Personally, I’d rather have ruined clothing and a carefree, relaxed spirit — a life full of joy! — than a pristine appearance, any day.

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How can YOU add more play to your life? What inspires awe and wonder for you?

Before It’s Too Late: Relationship Red Flags

They are always there. But you’re probably not looking for them. Maybe you weren’t taught to. Yet, it’s so important that you are aware!

Relationship Red Flags | Life, Unleashed

I’m talking about the signs… red flags that warn you to pay attention, take notice. Subtle clues that things aren’t as bright as they may seem.

I wasn’t taught to be aware of these things. (Then again, I didn’t have the Internet so readily available back then, either!) So, I blindly stumbled through my dating years and into marriage, naive about how to guard my heart.

I see it so clearly now. A person’s true character will always be revealed, eventually. This is part of the reason why it’s better to take your time in getting to know someone.

Does this person that you’re dating treat everyone kindly — from the CEO to the janitor? Do they support you in your dreams, and listen to your ideas? Do they comfort you when you’re upset?

Too often, we get so caught up in the googly-eyed part of romance that we get swept away, and forget to listen to our intuition. Family and friends will sometimes see the “red flags” before we do (since they aren’t as close to the situation), and they’ll offer up warnings; they’ll state their concerns. Problem is, we’re so taken by our partner that we brush off these well-meaning comments. We think, “They just don’t know him/her like I do”. Or, we make excuses for our partner’s behavior.

Heads-up: That right there is a red flag. You should never have to make excuses for your partner’s behavior!

Think long-term: Do you want to be constantly defending yourself? (hint: you shouldn’t have to). Do you think it will be okay if you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on your deeply-held values and beliefs? (hint: you’ll grow resentful and bitter). Do you believe that he or she will change, over time? (hint: it’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely). And please… do NOT think that you can ever change another person! It is absolutely not possible. Change is an entirely personal (internal) responsibility. And, if you accept this person’s bad behavior now, why should they ever feel the need to change it later?

You are worth FAR more! Do not settle! I know this isn’t easy. But, trust me on this: you will save yourself years of grief and heartache by being aware and discerning up front.

Know your limits. Decide — before you even get into a relationship — what you are, and are not, okay with (remember: think long-term). The whole point of dating, really, is to prepare for marriage … to see whether you and this other person would be compatible as life-long partners. So, keep this in mind as you consider entering into a relationship with someone.

Read up on relationships — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Learn what the “red flags” are… and if you find even ONE, run away! (trust me on this). You are worth so much better! Do not let fear tell you that you may never find anyone else, or that truly good, loving men (and women) don’t exist — those are LIES! The devil wants to keep you stuck and miserable! (John 10:10). God, on the other hand, wants you to trust Him with your love story! He wants you to trust Him to show you exactly the right person for you. After all, God knows you inside & out, so He also knows who would be the perfect compliment to your life!

Here are some of my favorite resources:

And here are a few more links, if you’d like to continue reading:

Have the courage to be honest with yourself. It takes guts, but you’ll thank yourself later. Know that you don’t have to go it alone. There is always hope!

{PS… I’ve created my own list of “red flags” to watch out for: Red Flag List}