So, apparently it’s really hard for me to blog consistently. I am one of those people who wants to be “in the mood” to write. Working on that whole self-discipline thing I guess. Tonight I hopped on my computer to do a few things and have been wracking my brain for a topic to write about. Finally, ding ding ding! I got one.
If you ever ask my mom what I was like as a kid, she’ll tell you, “Exactly the same as she is today!” If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you I often act like a kid and that’s something he loves about me. It doesn’t take much to make me happy or amuse me (as hours of laughing hysterically watching cat videos can prove). I love little things like watching snow fall, petting fluffy animals, and fresh sheets on the bed.
Because of my personality and nature, I often live in the moment, much like a child does. When you’re little, your sense of time is much different. I remember five minutes feeling like an eternity. Now as an adult, an hour or a whole day can fly by so fast.
My sister-in-law got me a CD for Christmas and I have been listening to it in the car. It is a all Scripture lullabies. It has been ministering to my heart in a surprisingly strong way. Click here for one of my favorite songs from the CD.
What is it about thinking back to our childhood that stirs up so many feelings in us? As I listen to this CD, I can’t help but think to one day when I might be a mother, playing these songs for my son or daughter as I rock them to sleep. But now, before I become a mother, these songs have created a space for me to reflect on my childhood and how I grew up.
My mom sent me a picture of a 10-year-old me, sleeping in my room. I laughed when I noticed that I had stuffed animals in a similar arrangement in my room today. My books were organized and my sheets were perfect even though I was in the bed. John always teases me about how I want to make the bed right away in the morning and how it has to look perfect. But I’ve always been that way.
Become Like a Child Again
Once upon a time, the disciples came up to Jesus and they asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Perhaps they were having a debate about the fathers of their faith or maybe they even secretly hoped he’d pick one of them to publicly honor. Instead, Jesus beckoned a nearby child to come and join them. I imagine him placing his hands on the child’s shoulders or swinging them up into his arms. And he replied:
“This is the truth – unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18).
There is no record of the reactions of the disciples, but I bet most of them were surprised and maybe a little confused. Children have no ambition, no thirst for power. They can’t vote. They can’t even take care of themselves until they’re a certain age. Children are small and powerless, often much weaker than those around them. But Jesus says to turn, become like children, and humble ourselves.
How hard is it for us to admit we need help? How hard is it for us to feel powerless? I hate not feeling like I am in charge. I’ve been a Christian for many years now and I still haven’t realized I am not running the show. I think in some ways we lose a child-like sense of joy as we grow older.
So how can we get back to a childlike mindset?
1. Pursue Humility
It’s human nature to seek power, position, and praise. There is nothing wrong with being affirmed and encouraged in who we are and what our calling is. But it is never okay to allow people to worship us, no matter how well known any of us may become. I have been challenged lately to continue to labor in the quiet, hidden place whether or not anyone ever notices. I know what God is calling me to do and I can do it with or without the praise of others.
2. Surrender Control
It helps me to visualize opening my hands up and literally letting things go from my grasp. If I am stressing about an issue or situation, I usually need to surrender control. I’ve done all I can – the rest is in God’s hands. Allowing anxiety to creep in and control my thoughts does not change anything. Can any one of us add a single hour to our lives by being anxious and worrying? (Matt. 6:27; Luke 12:25). No more clenched fists.
3. Simplify Life
It’s not always possible to simplify our schedules depending on what season we are in. But we can adopt a more simplistic mindset. For me, this means being flexible and more relaxed when things don’t go according to my plan (i.e. being humble and surrendering control). It means focusing on what is really important – the people around me and the commitments I am investing in right now.
The thing I love most about kids is their joy. I think by pursuing humility, surrendering control, and simplifying life we can regain and cultivate a new sense of joy. This is one of the true marks of a Spirit-filled life. As my pastor often says, Christians should be the most joyful people around!
Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.