For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).
Regression is a term that is used to describe the way a person will seek to cope with
his life situation, by a psychological "going back" to a time in his life that
was more secure. This sort of behavior is probably most often noticeable in children who
do not seem to let go of "baby talk" or behaviors that marked earlier childhood
years. It is their way to deal with the current pressures they may face that cause them to
feel unsettled and insecure, or unsure how to behave in a given situation. It is in their
seeking to remove the tension caused by these pressures that they strive to go back to a
place in which they felt safe--a place that, to them, offered true security.
"Growing up is hard to do," the saying goes. From a child's perspective it can
be quite frightening. There are the ever present expectations, with interest, compiled
monthly and placed upon their young, inexperienced shoulders. They must grow to act, live
and be a certain way, why? Because there is a proper way to conduct one's self that must
be learned--otherwise they will not be accepted. Within much of these expectations there
comes much unnecessary demands from those around them, while much of what is more
important goes unattended. For instance, our society places a great deal of emphasis on
looks and athletic ability or intelligence or normalcy; while things such as good
character, integrity and taking responsibility for one's actions are neglected or just
plain looked at as being unimportant.
It is no wonder people are stressed, look at what growing up means today--many added
pressures with little real joy (unless of course you have lots of money). Plus you have to
give up certain behaviors, or modify them so that others will accept you. Imagine a group
of adults outside, playing tag or hide and seek as they once did as children. People would
think they were crazy. That sort of behavior is not destructive or ungodly. In fact, it
might even be beneficial for us to continue certain childhood behaviors well into old
age--it might even keep us healthy. Yet, such behavior would be looked down upon by others
and therefore should not be acted upon (or so we think).
Unfortunately, this idea of "maturity" (I use this term loosely), has carried
over into our spiritual lives as well. We try so hard to live up to the expectations of
those around us in how we conduct our religious side, that we lose sight of the joys of
childhood. Perhaps we have forgotten where it says "Yet to all who received him, to
those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God"
(Jn.1:12). We have forgotten what it means to be children. Seeking to become mature in our
faith, we often lose sight of it. Faith has become something that is equated with hard
work and righteous duty, rather than simply trusting in God--resting in His arms to find
It is in growing up that we become dependent upon ourselves, trusting ourselves to be the
ones to take care of us. After all, it is something that is culturally ingrained in
us--"hard, honest work will get you what you need in this life." And the more we
hear this, and the more we grow up within ourselves, we begin to find our security within
ourselves and our abilities. But let us come to the end of our rope, let us come to a time
when everything within our capabilities cannot produce what we need to be secure and we
finally realize that we, in all of our "adult" glory, have limits; and we must
face the fact that we are not self-sustaining grown-ups as we once thought. It is at this
time of crisis that God's children then regress--they return to that place of security
within the loving arms of God.
Perhaps the crisis could be avoided if only the children of God would remain within His
security in the first place. God does not tell His children to leave His house, go out
into the world and "make a way for yourself." Instead, He tells us to reside
with Him, be obedient to Him and He will provide you what you need to be secure. This is
not to advocate sitting at home waiting for everything we need to fall out of the sky.
There are few instances in the Bible of such an occurrence. Yet, this is also not to
advocate following your own plan in how to meet your needs. We are to be obedient to God
in all areas of our lives. We are to "do" life, as His children, while residing
in our Father's house. And as little children, we are not to "worry, saying, 'What
shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after
all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his
kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"
We live in a time of undue anxiety. We worry about security in jobs, relationships and
life in general. Perhaps it is time to regress. It is time we quit trying to be so
"grown-up" (for that often translates as being complete within one's own self).
It is time we take our rightful place as the children of the living God--finding our
security in Him once more.