One of the hardest things to do as an adult is to be “childlike.” I don’t mean childlike in the sense of childish immature behavior or playfulness but rather the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child and to learn like a child.
Children have a natural receptivity to be open to learning, trying and failing. They’re not afraid of mispronouncing a word if they learn a new language they simply try. They are teachable and eager to learn. They are expectant that they can and will learn. And yet so often as adults we live inhibited and bound because we do not allow ourselves to really be open enough and humble enough to learn and embrace life through the lens of a child.
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. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” – Matthew 18:2-5
In Faith: Do you ever wonder why Jesus tells us to become like little children? Think about it, what is childlike faith? It’s believing something or someone no matter what the outer circumstances may look like. It’s pure and simple. It’s the ability to believe beyond what you can see, confident that it will happen. Childlike faith takes yes as yes and is coupled with a sense of anticipation when a promise is made with the knowledge that it will be granted.
In Learning: why is that children seem to learn so quickly? Is it simply that they’re eager to learn? Or that they have much to learn? I reckon that their ability to learn comes from their level of receptivity. They’re receptive and expectant to learn and they always do. They’re not afraid of making a mistake or failing, they simply stick with it and keep trying. It may explain why it seems that they learn so easily and quickly in the eyes of an adult.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
In Humility: Have you ever been in the presence of an extremely humble person? This, in and of itself is humbling and reminds us to examine our hearts and confess where pride has crept in. As adults, it’s easy to focus on ourselves and look out just for ourselves with a fear of provision or lack there of. Humility causes us to fix our eyes on God and lean on Him for everything. It requires a daily decrease of self so that He can indeed increase. If we acknowledge and really live knowing that God is our Father and we are His children then we can experience the beautiful submission and dependency in Him.
In Our Perception of the World: What if we could shake off all our biases and learned stereotypes about a culture or country and see it with a transparent lens. A lens that has not been burned by hurt feelings or broken from heartbreak or crushed from a sour defeat or distorted by bitterness or shaded from hateful discourse? As adults, we have many learned behaviors about the world. While some are good, in terms of safety and common sense, others can actually keep us from really experiencing the beauty of a place, culture or people group.
In Our Sense of Wonder: Do you remember those moments in your life when you said “woooow”? Most likely, most of those moments were when you were a child. You always saw something fascinating even in “mundane” situations because you expected to. As a child, the simple act of my parents driving through a tunnel evoked a sense of wonder. It was exciting to experience it, not knowing how long the tunnel really was. What if, we choose to see the world around us with eyes of wonder? Imagine how your days, weeks, months and years would look from this viewpoint.
Let yourself embrace life through a new lens and experience life “like a child.” You just might find that it is exactly what you needed.