Thursday, September 20, 2012

Loss of innocence

We all have times in our lives where information leaves us forever changed. We can't "un-learn" or "un-hear" whatever has been revealed to us. And in that moment, a piece of innocence is taken from us.

Now, not all of these instances are bad. For example: learning that the stove is hot (hopefully not from touching it) will help us avoid getting burned in the future. But other times, we don't always want hear that dirty joke at the water cooler. Or we don't want to see that image from a Victoria's Secret commercial. But once it's in our brain, it is virtually impossible to "forget" that information - and we move from innocence to influenced.

I recently experience something like this in my current running program. Up until about a week ago, I never really kept track of how many times I was running or walking within a given day's workout. It may sound ridiculous, but I would input the schedule into my phone's workout timer app, and then start my workout. The app counts down the last 10 seconds of each interval, and then tells me what I'm supposed to do next (i.e. - run, walk or warm down.) Since I never really knew how far into the workout I was, I just did what I was told and gave it my all, regardless of how tired my muscles may have been. And actually, not knowing what was up ahead caused me to think about working out differently. Rather than thinking, "It hurts. I'm so glad I'm on my last set." my thoughts would be, "It hurts. But I can do one more set if I need to."

But then the bomb was dropped on me.

She wasn't trying to steal away my innocence, but Jill, my wife, casually mentioned, "I'm so glad we only have 5 times that we're running during the workout."

And then it was gone.

No longer was I constantly focused on my ability to get one more set if I needed to. Now I was always ticking down the number of times, just longing to be finished. Somehow, my mindset shifted from the process to the product.

I've managed to regain a bit of the former mindset while working out, but the challenge exists to overcome my naturally tendencies.

I think we struggle with this a lot in our spiritual lives as well.

We may be cruising along with Jesus in a great place where we are focused on the next step. We are blissfully unaware of how much is required of us, and so we simply do what we're told and think, "I can do this some more if I need to."

But usually the bomb drops at some point. It may come in many different forms, but we'll never be the same afterward. We may have been betrayed by a trusted Christian friend; or a closed spiritual mentor may have a major sin exposed; or it may simply be our own temptation to control that steals away our innocent, child-like, love-relationship with Jesus.

And then it is gone.

We can try to regain some of the former mindset, and we may even come close to the same experience, but we will never be the same again.

This may seem like a negative thing on the surface, but if we take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture, we will often find that through these times of innocence lost, it challenges us to search deeper into our relationship with Jesus. And THAT is great thing!!

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