As adults, we look at children and say, “Ahh, the simple life.” Their world appears vacant of stress and responsibility.
At work, at home, and in our Christian adventure we take ourselves so seriously. We heap so much added pressure on ourselves to be perfect and succeed.
Jesus said, “You want to be successful? Become like little children.”(Matthew 18:1-2)
I kind of feel relieved by this thought. But what exactly does it mean?
7 Ways to Become Like Little Children: Observations from the Field
1. Be Adored
When our first daughter was born I was surprised how entertained we all were just sitting and watching her explore her environment. I’m not a kid person, but like a Netflix series I binged watched her. I couldn’t help it.
And it was more fun with husband and grandparent company, too.
God is in love with you.
He revels in watching you explore and enjoy the world he created for you. (Isaiah 43:4,7) So run in for a hug now and then, you’ll make His day.
2. Trust the Limits in Your Life
We make space in the house for our girls to play, learn, mature, make mistakes and make messes. Our home is mostly kid friendly and kid proof. Toy boxes house age-appropriate toys and baby gates protect them from falling down the stairs.
God puts limits in our lives so we grow to our full potential in an area.
Limits keep us focused on what is important and healthy now. He removes the limits when He is ready for us to take the next step.
Sometimes we feel ready to have our limits moved out and sometimes we don’t.
Are you a stay at home mom feeling trapped? These years of silent obscurity have the potential to build the character we need to remain balanced in times of promotion. Currently, I’m learning the importance of relationship over productivity.
Did you just get a promotion at work and feel overwhelmed by the new responsibility? He just removed the baby gate. But you can do this! You may feel unsteady climbing the stairs, but like a Daddy He is walking with you, guiding you up.
3. Create and Make a Mess
Yesterday, Meryem, our 2 year old, squished her hardboiled egg yolk into her ice water and sprinkled a few egg shells on top. She swirled it around with her fork and splashed the yellow goop all over the floor. She smiled and sang as she swirled.
That yellow slop isn’t a masterpiece now, but it’s a masterpiece in progress. With more guidance from us and proper ingredients she’ll be whipping up a devil’s food cake with marshmallow buttercream by the time she is 10.
Creation is a messy process. We will make mistakes. But we shouldn’t let perfectionism suffocate our creativity.
I’m learning when I write to spill everything onto the paper. I unleash all the ideas in one overstuffed lump. I usually hate it. My emotions rattle all over the place. I question my sanity. I fear. I even overestimate it grandness at times. So, I sleep on it.
Later, I cut and paste ideas letting unneeded words flurry to the floor like snowflakes on warm asphalt. But I needed to spill all those words in the beginning to end up with the useable words I post in the end.
What is it you want to do? Paint, sing, write, compose, decorate, bake, dance. What is your art? Employ your imagination. Have fun with it. Throw some yellow goop in perfection’s face.
What is creative and beautiful to you may not be to others, but it will be to some.
Create for yourself anyway.
And to create is to reflect the image of God.
4. Take Risks
Consider babies when they crawl, then walk, then run. They don’t stop at crawling and think, this is enough, crawling is decent transportation. Imagine how I will look wobbling, bow-legged and my arms stretched out like Frankenstein to keep balance. The experience and the freedom thrills them. They could care less what they look like.
So, everyday they go a little further and a little longer. The falls, bumps and bruises barely phase the parent or the child. They both know the child will succeed. It’s her destiny to run.
What do you feel God is calling you to? What are you currently doing? Explore your capabilities.
Go to the end of yourself. And then go a little further. You will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Take one class. Preach one message. Run one block. Take one missions trip. Then risk it again. It’s always easier the second time.
5. Celebrate Your Successes
Meryem is learning to use safety scissors. Her hands are too little so she doesn’t hold them right. The shapes she cuts are unrecognizable as she half rips, half cuts the paper with her toddler strength.
She runs to my husband and me to celebrate her success yelling “cut, cut” Her eyes are shining and she twirls her hands to demonstrate what she has done. And she’s pumped about herself. Everyday she asks for “Siz, Siz” so she can practice.
Celebrate what you can do now.
Pause in your day to see how far you’ve come in reaching whatever goal you set for that day or week. Stand back, look at what you have made and say, “yup its good.”
6. Unashamed of Your Body
I was cooking dinner one night when our oldest, who was 18 months old at the time, ran into the kitchen donning just a diaper. I looked toward her noticing how the evening light cast shadows on her little frame.
Was she too skinny? Was I feeding her enough? Was I feeding her the right things? Completely stuck in judgement of myself, I whined, “You’re too skinny.”
She grimaced for a second, looked down at her belly then looked up at me, eyebrows raised, chin jetting up and to the left and said, “No mommy, I’m perfect.” “You’re right, baby. You’re right.”
Your body type is perfect. If you, like me, harmed your body with too much food or other abuses, you can still love the body you are in now.
He is loving all of you, every extra pound, stretch mark and scar. Love you like He does, even before you reach your goal weight. Even if you never reach your goal weight. Go ahead and start a healthy food and exercise plan, that’s some good self love.
But don’t love yourself based on your results or ability to adhere to a plan.
Love all of you right now.
Or start by finding one thing about you that you like. And like it. Thank God for it. Is it your JLo booty? Your perfect eyebrows? Your princess feet?
Today I’ll pick my height. And my strong arms. What about you?
Before, and in between, stages of stranger anxiety, kids love whoever they are with. Before prejudices form, before he learns them from relatives, a baby loves. She reaches for, interacts with and giggles for all different kinds of people.
His big brown eyes can’t read the negative balance she carries in her bank account as he smiles at her from across the subway.
Propped in the grocery cart in front of him, her pudgy star-fish hands cross his invisible personal-space-zone reaching for his shiny eco-thermos. Smiling for the first time in weeks, he gently dances his red bull-vodka filled thermos in front of her. She lets out a 9 month old belly laugh. A faint chuckle escapes his smile.
We don’t have to plan big events, travel abroad, or become famous to bring change to our world.
Love the person in front of you.
Look past her faults to find something shiny in her. Change her world.
A New Day
When you wake up today, put on your crown. Be adored as God’s kid. Go outside and play. Use your imagination. Take risks. Embrace the beautiful person you are and admire the beauty of the person in front of you.
It’s a brand new day, kid. Go for it!
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