A conversation with a friend this past weekend sparked a childhood memory. It is not one I am particularly fond of, and you’ll see why in a minute.
I must have been about 5 or 6 at the time, and like any child, I was a curious cookie, especially about the things beyond my reach. You could say that on this day, the wild called out to me, and right on cue, with my Dora the Explorer hat on, I ventured into new terrains. I had been eyeing this treasure chest for a while, and it seems on this fine day, in the year 199something, long before the conception of the millennial term YOLO, I swung for the fences. Well…I went too far.
I remember hearing the piercing sound of crashing glass, and seeing visions of my mom’s words, DO NOT TOUCH brightly lit, as if framed in neon lights. In that moment I knew I was in hot water. On a side note, to us Nigerian rugrats, hot water did a better job of describing the severity of the situation. It also determined if alliance would be broken. The phrase, leave no one behind, was not one we cared to understand. So yes, I was very much on my own. I did consider pointing my short stubby finger at my cuddly baby brother, because why not? He could very well have rolled into the chest of perfectly manicured glassware…no?
The most nerve wrecking part was not knowing which way the dice would fall. Will this be a day of grace, or reckoning? Will my sweet-sweet tired-from-a-long-day-at-work-Lagos traffic-enduring mother come home and wave off my childish behavior, or will it be my booty singing screechy lullabies from a cane with my name on it?
So, what did I do? Well, staring at the consequences of my disobedience led me to the smartest solution my child brain could think of. Hide. And so, I hid. Did I hear you ask where? Ah, right. Under the bed. I hid under the bed until my mother came home. Thinking about it now, why the heck did I not just enjoy my afternoon, and hide closer to my mom’s arrival time? Also why did I think hiding would solve anything? I mean except I ran away from home; I would still have to face my mother. So yah, I am seriously judging lil’ Mel. right now.
This brings me to my point. In the counseling/therapy world, we often use the word, unpack. Which basically means calling certain things out of hiding in order to offload unnecessary weight, creating room to process, heal, and learn healthier ways to live. The words ringing in my ears right now come from Proverbs 23:26, O my son, give me your heart (that) your eyes may take delight in following my ways. In my humble opinion, hiding is a trap. A way for the devil to toy with your emotions, deceiving you into thinking you have it, whatever it may be, under control. But the truth is, whatever is hidden is in control, and you are under its rule. Could this be why God calls out to you and says, come boldly to my throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help you in time of need |Heb. 4:16|. Essentially, unpack your burdens, and offload them on me.
I truly believe that owning up to my disobedience would have spared me the punishment I received on that faithful day. I arrived at this conclusion because I learnt later that my mom cared more about my safety, than she did her glassware. It was less about me breaking things, and more about me defying her instructions, thus putting myself in harms way. Her anger was more at my foolishness for walking into terrains I was not prepared for. I did not know that the chest was unbalanced. Her instruction was not given to deprive me, but to save me. Thankfully, I left the scene of the crime unscathed, with no cuts or bruises. But imagine if my baby brother wobbled past the yellow tape into the line of fire. I not only put myself in danger, but…
When the Bible talks about leaving childish things behind, I immediately imagine my adult self trying to fit into my toddler clothes, and how that translates into mindset, attitudes, and behavior. We need to come out of hiding, and just go ahead and trust God with our mess. We need to pray for His desires, so that we are empowered to break bad habits. We need to be more obedient, so that our feet do not slide. We need to also accept our limitations, because try as we may, we are not all knowing. He is.
Lil’ Mel’s decision to hide under the bed was not a sound one, but it was to her the most sensible thing to do because she was afraid. So here is a comforting word for you; There is no fear in (His) love. (His) perfect love drives out all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love |1 John 4:18|.
Happy Monyaaaaaaay + New month!