The other day at church there was a family visiting. They had twin girls with beautiful blonde hair and lots of stories to tell. Their mom told us that it was the girls’ birthday. Whenever they were asked how old they were, they would proudly declare, “FOUR!”
Several people asked them and they would offer the same answer with the equal enthusiasm.
Always in unison.
Excited for the new number.
It wasn’t until my husband asked them that they gave a different response.
They simply looked at him shyly and continued playing with their mermaid dolls.
They were no longer energetic about spreading the word that they were now another year older. They had lost their passion for the celebration.
Cakes and Haircuts
How many times in life do we enter a new season with vigor, hope, expectation? It’s a blank slate, a clean sheet. Whether it’s another birthday, a new year or even a new month, we feel as if we can start fresh. But then we get into the mix of it all and it loses its glimmer. Spring turns to summer which turns to fall which turns to winter. And so, the cycle goes. We get excited for the weekend, but Monday always comes, looming its monotonous head, reminding us of the drudgery to come.
I remember when I turned 30. I had this dreamy idea that I was going to come up with 30 goals I would achieve while in my 30’s. It was a brand-new decade, a milestone. So, I quickly wrote up the list and got to work. Some items on my list were: make a cake from scratch (done due to my husband’s birthday being five days after mine) and cut my hair short (chopped 8 inches off a week after my birthday).
About two and half months into it, I gave up. I had done a few things on my list, but soon it became too heavy a burden to bear. It was difficult to look for opportunities to do something new. I got entrenched in responsibility, routine and the daily grind. I lost the excitement for the season that I was in.
Like a Child
Matthew 18:2-4 says, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus often uses children, like in this passage from Matthew, to describe what our faith should be like. In my job, I work with preschool age children on a regular basis. The great thing about kids is that they are very honest. Things are black and white, right and wrong. They speak what they think. They share what they feel. You never have to guess if a child is happy or sad. If they fall and scrape their knee, you better believe it’s the most painful thing they’ve ever experienced. When they feel an emotion, you know it’s genuine.
So many times, like the twins mentioned earlier, we can be so excited to share what is going on in our lives. Those little girls believed that because it was their birthday, everyone should know and be celebrating with them. They understood that they were special and worthy of attention.
As we age, we begin to believe that we are not special, that we are not worthy of attention, even from God. We think that the faith of our childhood was so simple because life was simple. Now there are bills, babies and work. It was easy to believe that God could do anything because we knew of no other way. We didn’t know who provided for our family, we just knew we were taken care of.
We think that we are too old for that kind of faith. To think that if we simply believe in God and trust Him, everything will be okay…it almost seems idiotic.
Look at the passage again. Jesus said that we must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. He didn’t say we had to find the way ourselves. He didn’t say it was up to us. All He said was that we had to become like children.
To trust without a care.
To believe for the impossible.
To laugh and love and feel to the fullest.
To escape this mundane, ho-hum life, we must see it through the eyes of a child. Each activity exciting. Each day a new opportunity to learn something new.
May God open our eyes to the wonder of His creation, of His word, of Himself.
May He help us celebrate the little things as if they were the biggest things.
May He remind us how simple it truly is to let Him love us and to love Him in return.
“He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved – surprised to be loved!” -Psalm 18:19 (The Message Version, 2002).