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Wild Child

Have you ever woken up one morning, looked in the mirror, and faced the unflinching truth that you were utterly, absolutely, downright bored? Worse yet, the source of your ennui is none other than yourself. It just makes you sigh from the bottom of your spirit to endure the carefully curated, minutely calibrated schedule you’ve so painstakingly carved out in the world. Nothing could be more tedious. You’ve worked like a dog to craft your work life, a klatch of friendships and finely-honed pursuits, when suddenly it’s as rancid as old Christmas chocolates. No spark. No color. It’s predictable, homogenized, tame, and completely unpalatable.

It’s true we crave order and peacefulness, expending a lot of energy in the universe to weave fragile webs of stability around ourselves. In our own puny way, we’re fighting the primordial chaos, whittling out a niche where we can survive and enjoy a tolerable level of gratification. This is not unreasonable. Life, for the most part is as recalcitrant as a two-year-old, so getting any kind of domination is reason to party.

As an introvert blessed with a double portion of Teutonic reserve, there’s nothing I require more than tranquility. It’s utterly non-negotiable. I pine for long, clear expanses of time alone, working quietly and steadily. As an artistic/creative type, I can rapidly become overstimulated by sound, scent or even color to the point of nausea. Anything moving at too high a velocity around me can crash my mental computer. My personal definition of torture is being wedged in a social function hour upon hour, having to make politely banal conversation, head pounding unmercifully from the relentless clamor. (Hence my deep love of family reunions and committee meetings). So, to wake up in my perfected environment of hard-hewn calm, and find myself contrarily jaded and weary, was disconcerting, to say the least.

Diana Vreeland, a very famous Vogue editor, socialite and fashionista, once said something truly erudite regarding style; “Too much good taste can be boring…I’m a great believer in vulgarity — if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika”. Isn’t it amazing how this is also a wonderful piece of advice for life as well? Too much order, too much structured conventionality, too much satiation, too much prudence, too much control, and you’re bored out of your gourd. It just doesn’t work. As humans, we also require stimulation. Primitive anarchy and ancient pandemonium must be present, somewhere, somehow. We need to be in serious communion with our ‘wild child’.

When I was about six or seven, I encountered my first box of pastels. I can’t even describe the ecstasy that flooded my little heart as I opened the box and that rich, oily scent assailed my nostrils. Carefully moving the corrugated panel, the crayons were revealed in all their glorious, gaudy primaries. Names fired my imagination; prussian blue, viridian, cadmium red, even titanium…a world was waiting to be explored! Soon after, I was at someone’s house who actually had a box of seventy-two magnificent pastels! I was speechless at the luxurious wealth of it. There’s something about picking up that newly minted pastel, putting the hard edge to paper and leaving one’s silken slide across the page that will change you forever. Indescribable. It’s just a splendid, sensual exploration; uninhibited, messy, visceral, and almost euphoric. By the time you’re finished, you have a brash statement of a masterpiece, complete with bonus streaks all over yourself! On another plane, this is far more than an artistic indulgence, it’s you, discovering a hidden part of yourself.

For believers, brought up in the church, it’s all too easy to lose the wild child within ourselves. Nothing kills impetuous joy faster than ‘religion’. We’re terrified of compromising our faith, associating with toxic influences, being too daredevil with decision-making or finances. We’re paranoid about ‘being out of the Lord’s will’. We cling to the tried and true; what is conservative, traditional, the sensible, and in the process, become pitifully stale. We lose primal grip on the passionate, intuitive, instinctual part of ourselves where the bias of life is equal parts escapade and trepidation. Seriously…isn’t it time to take a walk on the wild side?

Lately, Jesus has been pointedly reminding me about living life on a much grander scale. He’s speaking of ‘exploits’. He’s waving the ‘Book of Jasher’ (record of heroes) in front of me and saying “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (John 10:10 Amp). He reminds me that He’s the ultimate ‘Yes Man’: “For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Here on this side of the Cross, things have changed. Jesus has come, so now, we dare to radically assume a ‘yes’ until we get a ‘no’. (Hold the phone!!) It’s a whole new world. Dreaming big, even recklessly, is not a problem. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17), so the decisions I’m making are actually flowing straight out of Him. 'Yes’ means I’m not afraid to stride a little through everyday affairs, coming to the very throne of grace to make my requests. I dare to speak the truth in love and let the chips fall where they may. With faith, I learn to surf effortlessly and sweetly in the prophetic. In ‘Yes’ I trust God to be my rear-guard, to have my back when I make the big leap. The Captain of my Soul will correct the angle of my course when required. Spirit and soul are one with each other (Ephesians 2:20), so I’m not afraid to embrace my (holy) wild child.

Experience makes us perfect the beginner box of twelve, but wouldn’t you rather be familiar with all seventy-two (thousand) glorious shades of life’s pastels? There's a masterpiece waiting for you.

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