I love the worldview of three year olds. Recently, I was on a plane with a three year old behind me. There was the typical toddler question of “why?” repeated about 100 times in our flight to her patient Momma. The child also had a question near the end of the flight which made me laugh out loud. The flight attendant got on the loudspeaker to announce the arrival of our flight into the city and after she finished the little girl said, “Mommy why didn’t she call my name?” Her mother stifled a giggle and tried to explain that the flight attendant didn’t know her name. However the little girl kept persisting, “but momma I want her to say my name, why won’t she call my name?” I thought about how when you are three, it seems only normal that the flight attendant should know your name and announce it to everyone. Because when you are three you are surrounded by people who seem to revolve their lives around you. Your pre-school teacher, your parents, your older siblings and especially your grandparents give you attention and unlimited goldfish crackers and hopefully lots of hugs, kisses and bed time stories. This little girl believed with her whole heart that the whole world should know and pronounce her name because I would guess she has been loved and protected well by her parents. She feels known and safe and has a healthy dose of confidence that her’s is a name worth announcing over the loudspeaker.
What happens to that childlike confidence that we are likeable and important through the years? If a child just made up a dance 5 minutes ago, they want to show you. If they are drawing a picture and you wonder aloud if they are drawing an elephant, but they know it is a mountain they will tell you what it is, a mountain. They aren’t embarrassed that you couldn’t guess what their picture was, they are just happy to share the experience with you. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about Jesus’ interaction with children found in Luke 18:15-17 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Reading this passage always gives my heart a little shock, “what! I have to be like a child to enter the Kingdom of God!” But I’m smarter than a kid, I have more degrees, job experience, and money why do I have to be like them…then Boom! (that’s the sound of conviction mixed with some revelation in my heart) I have to be like them because they don’t have those things I often use to define me, they don’t have degrees or a car or a job or a mortgage, they are just themselves. They wake up everyday to being a kid and they are a kid, and they live like a kid naturally without prompting. What makes a child, child like?: Here are a few of my ideas and thoughts, I would love to hear yours, – A child is good at expressing their need. – A child is honest about how they feel. – A child is unrestrained and free – A child laughs a lot. – A child is dependent. Sometimes, I try to make myself worthy of inheriting the Kingdom. I feel bad and guilty because I look at my life and see all the areas I am lacking in. I think, “I really should memorize more scripture, pray longer or volunteer some more.” Then I begin to pray and my mind wanders, I read facebook statuses of friends who seem to solve the hunger problems of a city over their lunch break (when all I did during my lunch break, was solve my hunger problem). Yet it is not my lack of good time management or completion of projects that could keep me from inheriting the Kingdom of God, it is my lack of childlikeness. Craziness!!!!!!!!!!! So this leads me to the questions I have been asking myself and I would love to hear your thoughts If I came to God everyday, and I was dependent upon Him, if I shared with Him what I needed and felt with no filter. If I was free with Him and laughed, often with Him – What would that look like? – How would that change my relationship with Him? – Why would that help me inherit the Kingdom of God?