This past week I went on a road trip with a colleague/friend. We were reminiscing about our pasts and the transformation in our lives today. We both agreed to share some pictures of ourselves from our past. In light of that, I’ve spent a couple of nights looking through old photo albums and going down memory lane.
With my story of overcoming addiction some of these memories are painful. However, not all. I certainly have plenty of good memories from my past and in particular from my childhood. I came across this picture of myself as a carefree little girl. That picture was taken in my bedroom at a little table I loved to “have tea” at with my stuffed animals. It reminded me of the joyful and vivid imagination I had as a little girl. When I look at this picture, I see pure, innocent, untainted joy.
Growing Away from the Innocence of a Child
I think we all know that the further we get from being a child, the further we are from that sweet and joyful innocence. Sure, we grow up and become responsible (hopefully) and take on the cares that come with providing for ourselves and loved ones. However, I believe, we are always in search of that innocent joy of being a kid again.
I mean why do we:
- Go on roller coasters
- Dance the night away
- Go swimming all day the beach
- Hike mountains
- Ride bikes through the park
- Play board games
- Laugh with friends
We do these things so we can get lost in a moment of joy. It feels good and during the space & time in which we do these things, we forget about our responsibilities.
Children aren’t born understanding what they are responsible for but learn through trial/error and parenting. We as adults are keenly aware (hopefully) of all that rests on our shoulders. The heavier the burden, the harder it is to take moments of retreat to experience joy.
Getting Back to That Child-Like Joy
Let’s face it as adults we will always have responsibility but that doesn’t mean there can’t be joy. For many type-A personalities, the organization and tasks can actually be fun. Although, the type of joy that I’m talking about includes a retreat.
J from Budgets are Sexy, tweeted a great little quote this week.
I. Love. This.
It’s not necessarily the physical places we go to that matter. Rather, it’s the places we go in our minds that truly matter.
Think about it, mental health is a huge thing and, yes, I’m a fan of having good mental health! It’s such a big thing that it’s actually its own separate division of healthcare. Look at your health plan summary and you’ll see mental health benefits.
Additionally, how many self-help books focus on mindset??
Lastly, and most importantly, in my opinion, is what the bible says about our minds. In just a quick search, I found 100 scripture verses that talk about the mind.
The most important fight we will ever fight is the battlefield of the mind. We cannot control what thoughts or words come at us, but we can control to ruminate on these words or not. When thoughts come at me, I ask myself if it’s from God or not. If it’s the latter, I quickly dismiss it.
Am I perfect at that? Heck no, but it’s a great litmus test in keeping a guard on what I allow myself to analyze. My mental wealth is worthy of protection and so is yours.
Practical Suggestions in Getting Back to Child-Like Joy
If we are willing to clean up issues that may be preventing us from getting back to this child-like joy, we’ll reap rewards. There are a lot of things vying for our attention these days and we need to be intentional about what we focus on. Additionally, some of these suggestions center around money because, well, money affects everything.
#1 Pay off Debt
Okay, if you are drowning in any type of debt, this can consume a lot of your mental space. Additionally, debt can add stress to your life and job. I’ve written articles on coming up with a debt freedom plan. Trust me if you focus on this it will change your relationship with money.
#2 Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Money
Once you’ve paid off your debt, you want to keep a healthy relationship with money. I believe this can be obtained by budgeting and tracking your expenses, utilizing automation, saving, and overall practicing preventative care with your finances.
Furthermore, as a person of faith, I believe God owns the money and I simply get to be a manager of it. This mental shift has allowed me more discipline surrounding the money I get to manage. I want to do a good job and be a wise steward. Moreover, I like to give back and when possible be outrageously generous.
#3 Reconcile with Your Past
Do you have any scars from your past? Um, yeah, we all do because we live in an imperfect world. This is a big one & I don’t recommend doing it alone. If your wounds are minor, sure you can probably go over your inventory alone but the deeper the wounds, the more I recommend doing it in one of these settings:
- Recovery Program
- With a Pastor
I actually started doing this before I worked on my finances because my sobriety depended upon it. Whenever you start it’s worthy work to do. Just know that it’s a lifelong process and things come off in layers.
# 4 Finding Purpose
We are all creations designed with a unique purpose. We each have our own gifts, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Identify what yours are and make sure they line up with your career and the focus of your life.
Sure, that last sentence makes it sound like a very simple thing to do. It’s not.
Finding purpose can take a lifetime and unfortunately, some people never find it. Anyway, just being aware that you are trying to uncover yours will open your eyes to see things you might not have noticed otherwise.
So you might be saying, “Deanna, how can I practically know my strengths & weaknesses without a biased opinion?” Great question & I’m glad you asked! Try some of these free tests to get more insight into what makes you, you:
#5 Know Your Source of Truth
As I mentioned I’m a person of faith and guard my mind according to scripture. When I’m tested I can point to scripture that applies and take action. Furthermore, I know where the bible comes from historically and have done my research.
Here is a great book by a journalist who did a lot of research in trying to uncover if there was credible evidence of Jesus being the son of God.
I would say that knowing what you believe, why, and where it comes from is a very worthy endeavor.
Child-like joy can be experienced in our adult life. I’m living proof. The practical suggestions I’ve given are worthy investments of time that pay off. Going through life aimlessly is never the answer.
Search. Question. Research. Consult. Pray. Take action. Believe.
P.S. I got to share my story on Budgets Are Sexywhich is an awesome personal finance site written by J$ who has been writing about personal finance & inspiring others for many years. Check it out!