Cute kid with Books

What is “inner child healing?”

Does everyone have an “inner child” that needs to be healed?

Isn’t the idea of an “inner child” the by-product of new-age thinking or 60s hippie mumbo-jumbo—or just an entertaining Hallmark movie of the week?

The fact is, the concept of “inner child healing” is sound—even Scripturally based—and, in many instances, a necessary step to the wholeness that everyone desires.

Very few adults reach adulthood without trauma, tragedy, or some sort of emotional damage that makes a very real difference in how they function in the world. These experiences affect how they interact, express and interpret things, and make decisions. For some the “baggage” of childhood is light and has few ill effects; but, mostly it is a burden that many carry and need to learn how to let go.

Enter “inner child healing.”

Inner child healing is the release of the past’s hold on your present life—it is the reconciliation of the little, wounded child and the adult that the child has become—in a way that the adult is able to more fully function as he or she should: as a thriving, joyful, engaged-in-the-world grown-up.

The Synoptic Gospels all share the story of Christ’s disciples trying keep a distance between the Savior and various children. They (the Synoptic Gospels) then show that Jesus rebukes the efforts of the disciples to keep the kids away as he directs them to “Let the children come to me, do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Christ finishes by placing his hands upon the children where he blesses and embraces them.

Most readers of Scripture tend to see this in a literal sense—which is certainly the case on one level—but we also ought to delve deeper, into the analogous sense of children coming to Christ and his ultimate laying on of hands and blessing.

In other words, adults should see this as an invitation to take their inner child to Christ for his loving embrace, blessing, and healing.

Most inner child healing occurs within the context of spiritual direction or counseling but it can be achieved through any number of alternate ways. The key to inner child healing is to understand what it is and what it is not.

For instance, inner child healing is not a panacea for all that ails the mind, body, soul or spirit. Other issues—whether physical or emotional—may very well be in need of professional diagnosis and treatment.

On the other hand, inner child healing is a tool that, when used knowledgably, effectively provides an adult with a fuller sense of self—an ability to not react to life from the standpoint of a wounded child but, rather, to respond to life in an appropriate, mature way.

At its core, inner child healing is the purposeful journey into your own childhood or young adulthood and uncovering hurts and pains that, once uncovered, are brought to Christ. Inner child healing is taking the experiences that have caused woundedness in your life to the foot of the Cross where Christ will embrace, bless and heal.

While inner child healing doesn’t happen overnight, it also shouldn’t become the new place for a person to live, either psychologically or emotionally.

The balm of Christ’s love is applied to the hurts and pains of the inner child in a way that they are healed and the adult is consequently made more whole—more able to enjoy the abundant life promised in Christ.

Cheryl Dickow is the president of Bezalel Books and is the author of Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage and Our Jewish Roots.

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