People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16
Here are a few questions I’d like you to answer…
When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably?
When was the last time you cried inconsolably?
When was the last time you learned something you never knew before?
When was the last time you experienced something that you will never forget?
As adults living fast-paced, high stress lives, we have to take some time to really think about when each of the things last happened in our lives. So are you ready for the irony? My five year old daughter did all of these things today before noon.
Many people go through life feeling emotionally detached from the world around them. For some, this is unintentional and for others it is deliberate. We lost sight of the joys and sorrows in an attempt to simply maintain the status quo. We brush aside opportunities to learn, to feel and to grow out of a lack of time, a lack of understanding, or a lack of interest. No matter what the rationale, we are leaving an awful big portion of our lives unlived. Why is that?
I think many of us (myself included) live lives where our primary goal is the management of risk. As parents, we err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and well being of our children. As good stewards of our resources, we carefully budget and diligently plan our investment strategies. As effective time managers, we schedule our days carefully so that we don’t waste our time or allow any opportunities for activity to pass us by. We grow and mature and become so skilled at managing risk that we simply forget how to take one.
This is not what we were made to do. This is not how we were instructed to live. Think about the lives the apostles led. Did they manage risk, or did they step boldly in faith? Think about those people who are most successful in business. Did they get there because somebody felt they were entitled to the position despite having done nothing to earn it? God didn’t create us to be reckless. Instead, we were made to be His special creation; designed in love to carry out the awesome plan that He has for your life in boldness and free from fear, shame, guilt, and error. Risky behaviors in the truest sense of what God desires of us are those things that would immediately set you apart, that would drive you to be out front no matter what’s going on in your life. These are the things that make us peculiar in the world, and because of this many of us do our best to stifle it – to minimize the things within so that it does not embarrass us in front of others.
This is a shame, because in doing so we are missing out on a great deal of what life has to offer us. For example, my daughter doesn’t care what others might think of her emotional reactions to life around her. Her joys, sorrows, hurts, and celebrations are hers to savor and hers to share. Others are welcome to join her but they cannot, nor will they deter her from displaying them – at least for now. I think this is a big part of what Christ meant when he described the faith of a child. It’s not only about keeping it simple and being committed and obedient, but it is also about being open to the fullness of what God wants us to feel – unfiltered and unbridled. This begins today for me as I set out on a path that will lead me to risk much, but my faith is unwavering in the One who not only saved me by His sacrifice, but promises to reward me for my obedience. May He bless you, bless me, and fill us all joy beyond compare every moment of every day of our lives.