Lessons From Childhood

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about small children that warms our hearts in ways like nothing else can.  Maybe it’s their dimple-filled smile that’s often easily provoked or their unconscious innocence and naiveté that causes us to remember a simpler time in our own life.

A while back, I dug through my closet and found some old photos of myself and my older sister Sue visiting my grandparent’s farm in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.  One of the pictures I posted to this note (the one of me waving) is currently my desktop wallpaper.  I placed it there with a purpose:  To remind me daily of the wisdom found in childhood – urging me to apply those same principles as I face a world tainted with skepticism, apprehension, and negativity.

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  – Jesus speaking in Mark 10:15

The more years of worldly experience we have, the more we tend to doubt or question the existence of God.  We rely more on our own reasoning and common sense than we do in faith, hope, and positive expectancy.  We come face to face with issues and circumstances we can’t explain, pain and suffering that seems unjust, and a perception that more prayers go unanswered in this life than are graciously granted.  Adolescence and adulthood have a way of quickly stamping out the innocent and seemingly foolish ideals we held as children.

But Christ urges us to see the wisdom found in the eyes of a child – embracing the fact that His Kingdom will elude us if we hold on to worldly logic and adult reasoning too rigidly.

Be Happy and Enjoy the Moment

“For the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” – Proverbs 15:15

“For God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I conclude that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they can.  And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”  – Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

Children have a way staying in the moment – filling their minds with each joyful detail of the present, and by doing so, they continually feast on happiness 🙂

As you look at the picture of me happily waving to the camera, there are no thoughts of past disappointments or future troubles, only of walking to the barn and feeding the pigs – one of my favorite things to do on Grandpa’s farm 🙂

Lately I’ve been too focused on the pain of the past and the worries of an unknown future – failing to see the beauty of RIGHT NOW and enjoying the many gifts God places before me each day.  How about you?  Can you relate to thinking more like an adult than a child when it comes to RIGHT NOW? 

Children have the wisdom to quickly forgive and forget.  One minute they can be crying from hurt and rejection, yet capable of laughing enthusiastically the next.  They are so enamored, appreciative, and overwhelmed by each small detail of the moment – their minds simply aren’t capable of contemplating what lies ahead or beyond the next few moments.  Because of this, they continually feast on happiness – experiencing more and more of God’s kingdom here on earth 🙂

See Yourself as God Sees You

If you look closely at the picture of me waving at the end of the sidewalk, you will notice that I have rubber boots on that are about ten sizes to big for me.  I apparently slipped on a pair of my Grandpa’s “muck” boots – thinking if they were good enough for Grandpa, they were good enough for me.

I didn’t question my ability to walk to the barn myself and begin the process of feeding those pigs.  I didn’t see the wheel barrow as too large to handle, the milk jugs as too bulky to lift, or those portly pigs being capable of knocking over a little squirt like me without much effort.  In my mind’s eye, I was more than capable of handling the task.  I instinctively knew that Grandpa was right there to orchestrate and direct whatever I couldn’t handle.

You see, children have the wisdom to see their hidden potential – trusting in Mom, Dad, and Grandparents to pick up any pieces outside of their grasp.  With this mindset, they experience life more richly and have the peace that comes with a trusting, faithful nature.

These past few years, I’ve been too focused on my shortcomings, my failures, and my weaknesses – failing to muster enough courage to move ahead to bigger and better things.  I’ve been looking at how BIG those rubber boots seem to be instead of courageously stepping into them without hesitation – trusting that God will orchestrate and direct whatever seems outside of my ability to handle.

How do you see yourself currently?  Have circumstances or events caused you to doubt who you are anymore?  Can you see the wisdom of children – how they view their potential and how they unconsciously trust in God for the rest?

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!  They are innumerable!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I awake in the morning, you are still with me!”  – Psalm 139: 14 and 16-18 NLT

Believe that All Things are Possible

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?, Jesus asked”.  “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  – Jesus speaking in Mark 9:23 NLT

The natural tendency of children is to believe wholeheartedly what they are told – no questions asked.  They don’t analyze or make any judgments about what parents or grandparents tell them.

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny become large as life.  They never stop to think how bunnies can lay eggs, where small fairies get all their money, or how the toys for children all around the world can fit into one small sleigh.  No questions or deductive thinking races through their minds. They just simply believe.  Then one day, the human condition kicks in, reasoning skills develop, and they begin to see the world differently.

Our spiritual innocence takes a similar pathway in life.  We start out believing all that God tells us about himself.  We enthusiastically embrace His love, His blessings and His grace with the same excitement and marvel that children have when it comes to filled Christmas stockings or newly found Easter baskets.

Then the human condition kicks in.  Catastrophe strikes and the blessings turn to hardships.  We begin to wonder if God is all He’s cracked up to be.  Why would a good God let my loved one die?  How could a God of love let me suffer with cancer?  Why would he let my spouse leave me all alone?

Childlike faith retains it virtuous sparkle 🙂 It embraces the innocence behind accepting things our Heavenly Father tells us – even when human reasoning, visible suffering and God’s Word collide.

In the midst of sickness and disease, it believes a God who says “for I am the One who heals you”.  In loneliness and emptiness, it trusts in the words “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  In grief and despair, it remembers the promise, “Even as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”

Today, turn back to your spiritual innocence.  Accept what your Heavenly Father tells you as truth.  When human reasoning wants to edge its way into your circumstances, with childlike faith.….just simply believe.

I hope you take some time to look through your own childhood photos, pulling out one you can paste on your refrigerator or use as computer desktop wallpaper reminding you of the wisdom of childhood – making the commitment to embrace the principles you once held long ago.

God bless you 🙂

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