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Listening to the Kids

• Greg Boyd

Many of us have wounds, stresses, and cares in our lives. Like children, these things cry out to us, wanting us to pay attention. God wants us to listen to these “children” and find healing with God’s help.

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God wants all of us to listen to our wounds and find healing and restoration. A child clamoring for attention from an adult is a poignant metaphor for these wounds. As the child makes noise, adults notice the child, and we all have inner “children” that are calling out to us, wanting us to pay attention.

However, we’ve been conditioned to neglect these children. We’re conditioned by our culture to put more importance on the outer world than our inner worlds. Whether it is concentrating on what we own, how others perceive us, or what we get recognition for–we pay less and less attention to our inner world and pay more attention to this outer world. We also neglect these children because it takes time to listen–time we may not want to put in our busy schedules. Finally, we may neglect these children because we don’t want to hear what they have to say or show us.

God wants us to pay attention to these children. In order to acquire an undivided Kingdom heart and holistic Kingdom life, we must make time and be willing to listen to these children. This is not a God-only action, as if God is meant to start, continue, and complete the work without our involvement. Yet many of us treat our wounds in this manner. It is true that without the Holy Spirit we will not be transformed in a Kingdom way, but it is equally true that we have an important and necessary role to play–a role empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We cannot acquire an undivided Kingdom heart and holistic Kingdom life without paying attention to these children. Their voices clutter our soul and creates perpetual uneasiness. We are constantly pulled in different directions, remaining a fragmented individual as long as we don’t lay to rest these children in our hearts.

Above all else, guard your heart. This is not simply protecting, but tending to, caring for, cultivating and nurturing your heart. The reason God commands this is because the heart is the wellspring of life. Everything flows from your heart, and your outward unity is dictated by your inward unity. We have important obligations to love others, including our spouses, friends, and families. Yet, as important as these are, our first and foremost responsibility is to guard our heart. This responsibility is to bring the Good News of God’s love to the children in our hearts, the ones clamoring for our attention. We must tuck them into their downy beds and allow them to dream children’s dreams as they sleep in heaven’s arms.

This is not an easy task. We must regularly clear our schedules and take time to listen to these children. Sometimes, the children will barge into our lives when we least expect it. We may be acting in ways that we think are our own choices, but its really the unresolved children pulling us in different directions, away from the path God set out for us. As children of God, our true nature is holy and blameless before God, but sometimes these children compromise how we show that to the world.

It is of the utmost importance that we nurture our heart and tend to our inner world. We must clear our schedules to listen to our inner children. They all speak in different ways, some have been forgotten for many years while others scream at us every chance they get. Every single thing that takes place in our inner world does so for a reason and is a child that we can learn from. You must be patient, as this process cannot be rushed. It will take daily quiet time, spent listening to the children of your heart. It will also bring daily healing and restoration, the final goal being an undivided Kingdom heart and a holistic Kingdom life.

God bless you, and God bless the little children.

(The poem at the beginning of the sermon was written and read by Terri Churchill. The music playing during the poem was “Valley of the Shadow” by Thomas Newman.)

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Topics: Healing, Imagination, Transformation

Sermon Series: Undivided

Downloads & Resources

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Focus Scripture:

  • Proverbs 4:23

    Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

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13 thoughts on “Listening to the Kids

  1. Brian M. says:

    I love the old testament passage seems to fit with Greg’s theme this week.

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 (New International Version)

    25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

  2. Lindy Combs says:

    The meditation led by Terry Churchill just un-did me. I was astounded, stunned with what that revealed to me about my cluttered heart. (“cluttered” barely describes it)… I prayed, in profuse tears, “Jesus, You have to really show off and be to me all that You are for this to all get cleaned out.” I had a sense of hopelessness while doing the meditation, sitting at the table with Jesus, when I saw what was in the cloth bag. It was graphic. I was about to share it…but am prompted to keep it to myself…God is truly at work in this series in a deep way, such as I could never imagine.

    I am so very thankful that I have the equipment for viewing these sermons. Thank you Terri and Greg!

  3. Lindy Combs says:

    ONE MORE THING: The booklet is available to download. What a marvelous resource it is. I hope we can buy it from the online store!

  4. Brianne O says:

    That’s absolutely right on.
    I am going to print that scripture out & post it in my home.
    Thank you for posting it!

  5. Hey Lindy (and others)… if you’re interested in getting a copy of the Undivided book you can get in touch with Laurie here in the church office: lpreston [at] whchurch.org.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying the series so far!

  6. Lindy Combs says:

    Thank you! Charley!

    I shall do that!

    I think this is the most challenging “journey” I have ever experienced. This is extremely difficult for me and foreign. It hurts! But I can’t stop!

    My thought just now is Rev. 19:7, about the bride and marriage supper of the Lamb. “…bride has made herself ready…” Could this be part of that preparation? I think the Holy Spirit has really rolled up His sleeves and is hard at it on that Master Potter’s wheel.

  7. Kevin says:

    Is it a spiritual gift having the ability to remember things from when you were 3 y.o.? i’d have to go through regression therapy to remember that far back 🙂

  8. Nicole says:

    This has been a difficult week for my soul – it feels paralyzed. Have had to shut everything down – stay away from people because I am so overloaded with pain, mine and that of the people I am around. I haven`t been able to pray or be with God. I feel isolated, experiencing hell.

    This sermon and meditation have helped break that down. I used to do this internal child finding but stopped because it`s difficult to do it alone and I felt too self-absorbed. It gives me great comfort and assurance that it is okay to do that – that it is a good and beneficial thing to do. I am so messed up right now and just have to trust that Jesus says it`s okay to come to him with all this mess.

  9. Teresa says:

    Terri and Greg TY for being real.. …………this is so precious!!!

  10. Lindy Combs says:

    Nicole, I so relate with what you wrote! At one time, I had to shut down and stay away from people too. This week I could feel my toxic turmoil of sediment stirring from the bottom of my heart. I was frightened after Greg’s first message in the series. But God was drawing me, so I “fell” into His arms. Make sense?

    You sure made sense to me. I wish you and I could get together. I am in the Puget Sound group, on Whidbey Island, WA state. It would be fine with me if Jim LePage gives you my email address. [Jim, did you catch that?]

    This thing we are in the middle of is like un-chartered territory. I am so eager to get a copy of the Undivided book.

    Yes, I too thought it was self absorption. I denied its value. I had been taught that “you died…” [Col. 3:3] so this is just that old flesh trying to rise up. Greg though, he has taught me [us] that we can actually invite Jesus to teach us about the root. I have kept stuffing it down. I have had some stinging memories this week rolling into my mind’s eye. I have asked the Lord to show me the root. WOW!! What a trip into the caverns. I have had some healing already. THIS IS WORKING!!!!

  11. Jim LePage says:

    Lindy and Nicole – Here’s a link to Lindy’s profile on The Bridge if you two wanted to connect:


  12. Lindy Combs says:

    Thank you, Jim. You do so well with all this tech stuff involves. I appreciate you!

  13. When Greg talked about congruency, I remembered when I was about 26 when I went on a three week raw food health retreat and brought along a tape series called Insight on Time Management. The teacher, Charles Hobbs, started out by emphasizing the importance of congruency–of having your inner values match what your life is about. I have never forgotten that precious teaching, and have done my best to identify and live by my values.

    At the time, I was not a Christian, and in so many ways I tried to find that inner healing and congruency–but I failed miserably. When I surrendered my life to Christ, things were so much better–but I also surrendered my inner work on my inner child and emotions, believing what others told me–I didn’t need that any more.

    And thus it is with much gratitude and tenderness that I found that the work I did before I had a relationship with Christ was good work–I just needed Jesus. So now I feel like I have permission to return to nurturing the inner children–to parent them with love and respect. Thank you so much.

    I also remember an experience where I was in so much pain because of a relationship challenge that was just overwhelming to me. I prayed to Jesus and Yogananda–for Yogananda was my guru–but Jesus was one of the people Yogananda encouraged us to related to (but not as God). I remember tangibly feeling Jesus presence and love. I knew without a doubt that Jesus was responding to my cry. I yearn to have that kind of experience with him again, and I have hope that by doing this inner work and just being present with him, letting him heal the memories–I can experience him more tangibly.

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