Remember when you could run around barefoot and had no cares in the world? Other than landing on a sharp rock, I loved the feel of my feet on the grass as I ran around our backyard. I’d give anything to go back to those days and relive them. I didn’t have to worry about providing for my family, health concerns of people I cared about, or making sure the next big thing is organized down to every last detail. It was a good day if my feet were covered in dirt at the end of it. (And it was a great day if Alf wasn’t a rerun!)
Some of the things I miss about childhood are those times of innocence. I didn’t know disappointment yet. I was unaware of our nation’s history with slavery or ruthless dictators in other countries. No one shared with me about what really goes into hot dogs and I had never had my heart broken. Over time though, I had ran over enough rocks to become uneasy about running around barefoot. I didn’t want to run without shoes anymore. Going barefoot lost its appeal.
The end of innocence is never romantic, is it?
As a dad, if my kids were to run around barefoot now, I’d worry about them getting a parasite, getting a nasty case of the chiggers, or finding that sharp rock again. One day I know that they’ll prefer shoes and I know that they’ll also have to go through all of life’s real heartbreaks, too. I can’t protect them from those…and I don’t think I’d want to do that. What I do want to do is prepare them for what they will learn and experience. I want to prepare them to make a difference.
We all find ourselves unable to run barefoot once we understand that the world is full of pain people inflict on others. It’s one of life’s cold, heartless facts. Yet on the flip side of this, there is a hope we have in Jesus. It’s this hope that we can partner with Christ and help create places where we can run barefoot without worry. Ultimately, the promise we have is that Jesus’ heel will crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:14-15) and being barefoot will be second nature to everyone.
Until that day when we can all run on the streets of gold without worry of injury, seek out ways to promote peace in your neck of the woods. Find ways to break the Kingdom of God into your workplace. Sow seeds of joy at the grocery store. Put a dent into some of the evils of the world by checking out some ministries or organizations who need your presence.
There are these great lyrics in the worship song Hosanna. “Break my heart for what breaks Yours / everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause.” I hope my girls live those lyrics out in their lives. I hope that one day, when they realize that the world isn’t always safe for people to go barefoot, that their hearts will break for what breaks God’s heart. I’m excited for the day when they jump into this adventure Jesus calls the Kingdom of God.
May you long for the day when every child can run barefoot through the streets without a care in the world. May you be a part of the Kingdom building that works towards that end.
This #1Word5voices thing is something four friends of mine concocted together, during Lent of 2013, we challenged ourselves by posting on a word a day that Rethink Church came up with for Instagram.
It kicked our butts so much We liked it so much that we decided to post on a word once a month, on the fifteenth. Click on the hashtag #1Word5voices to find what Heather, Lindsay, Shawn, and Stephanie had to say this go-around.