I spend a lot of time with kids. I must admit it is something I never set out to do intentionally, it just kind of happened. An equation of my desires and God's leading has landed me in the wild world of abundant potty breaks and Goldfish.
Jesus talks a lot about children. He shares about how much He loves them (Matthew 18:2-5) and that we should become more like them as we begin to more deeply take hold of the truth that we are each one of His (John 1:12).
But if you're anything like me, you probably take a lot of pride in putting your big-girl pants and facing life's challenges with fists tight and head high. Though I am slowly beginning to learn that this is actually the weakest stance we can take when our knees are the other available option (2 Corinthians 12:10). Our destructed and confused hearts dare to be independent and seek control. I don't want to be told what to do and am often convinced I know what is best. "I got it" I'll say and I spend an awful amount of time trying to be 'put together.' So as easy as it may sound to be a wild and free kid again, maybe it's really not.
After a month sabbatical spent in the sunshine of sweet summer, I've gone zero to one-hundred in kid mode. Let the adventure begin again! But through the transition back, I've been praying for eyes to take in all they are. Kids have the potential to teach us so much when we set our pride down, so for these last few weeks I have let them. And what I learned astounded me.
I am astounded by how simple they are.
Simplicity is lost in the woods of our culture, amen? The busiest and owner of the most materials “wins" and complicated lives have somehow become equivalent with significant ones. We are all stuck in making things more complex than they need to be. All you got to do is take it back Eden and follow along to see that humans speciality is doing just this. But kids, yes complicated to take care of and definitely complicated to understand, have a special way of taking things at face-value that us adults have been jaded out of.
Here are some simple things kids do (that we should do, too):
When they pray they just pray. Kids take hold of the truth that prayer is simply talking and listening to God. They are confident that God delights in hearing from them all the time. They don’t attempt to be ‘better’ when they turn to Him or self-consciously fish for the right words to say. They commune with their Father right where they are - how they are - with no shame. When is the last time you believed in God’s love and grace deep enough to seek Him with absolutely no shame in who you are? If God tells us we are His children, I think that means we can come to Him like one - messy and unafraid.
"When scary thoughts come into my mind I know they are not from God” -Ella (1st grade) Enough said, I think.
They are comfortable with joy. They laugh, sing and dance without second thought. Kids don’t let the surrounding environment interfere with the amount of joy bubbling from them. Sure they are crazy. Sure they are sassy and temperamental. But I wanna live my days in joy not influenced by circumstances, too.
When they see someone in need they help them. No questions or apprehensions. They see the problem, realize they can be a part of the solution and go for it.
When an opportunity to love someone rises, they jump at it. Without being fueled by the desire to be recognized for doing good. Just like kids when I see an opportunity to love someone well I want to care more for the benefit of that person rather than the sacrifice of myself in the process of doing so.
They know discipline. Discipline has been contorted to be a punishment rather than a way in which kids are sculpted and molded into the adults they will become. Similarly, we should still be practicing discipline in our lives to become who God is calling us to be. God even says He disciplines us - not because we are guilty any longer, but because He loves us (Hebrews 12:6).
They are not afraid to ask for help. They know they can't do it all alone. Like kids we can stop pretending we have it all together. God wants to help us when we ask (Matthew 7:7) and we should understand our brokenness so clearly there is freedom to ask for a hand without wounding any pride.
I love that of all descriptions the Creator of the stars and seas could call His most favorite creations He chooses to call us His children. Being a child of God isn’t something we have to strive for, but instead wear as our identity. And an identity like that means we can go on simply leading and loving like kids.