“My mommy said I lost 50 teeth already!”
“I’m gonna be Batman!”
“Me and Benny are gonna marry each other tomorrow.”
“Have you ever seen a unicorn? ‘Cuz I have.”
“I brought my green dinosaur to show ‘cuz I’m gonna be a paleontologist.”
“See look! These are my rockets for space and they have a jet power on the bottom.”
These are some of the amusing things I’ve heard from my wonderful 4 year-olds in the Pre-K class I teach. These kids are honestly the biggest reason for my laughter and smiles during the weekdays. They are so imaginative and confident in their silly facts and dreams. I mean, you can tell them practically anything and they will believe you, no matter if it’s the truth or you’re messing with them. This was beneficial when I needed to explain how magnets work (electrons really like each other and stick together all the time), but sometimes feelings will be hurt if you tell them that their dream world, which may involve imaginary friends and talking stuffed animals, isn’t real. The reason is children take everything very seriously.
That may seem ironic, but kids will take even the most ridiculous idea and consider it seriously as fact in their growing minds. And, unfortunately, we young adults or “grown-ups” as they call us, will brush off the statements that come out of the uncensored mouths of children. The reason behind this behavior lies in our surroundings. As I see it, the world around us has a set way of running things and viewing things. Our dreams must be seen through a cynical, realist lens; our actions to achieve those dreams have to fit in the right boxes; the things we say have to make sense to the accepted opinions of the time. Limited, limited, limited. We are constantly pressured to fit an unspoken standard of “adulthood”, and to smush our children into the same mold as they get older. Growing up means leaving behind living like a kid.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a common mistake we make to leave our childlike behavior in the dust. There are valuable things to learn from the youngest children, concepts we could do well to reapply into our character.
You see, children have an unfathomable amount of something we often lose: faith. They don’t allow anyone to deter them from what they know or believe, and usually no one ever has enough guts to tell little kids they can’t be princesses and astronauts. Honestly, that is something I admire so much about my preschoolers, seeing their absolutely determined mind in action. Their faith is so unshakable that it can punch us in the face when it’s shown, I’m sure we all recognize that children are like this, but we tend to only admire the adults that have mountain-moving faith.
Why is that?
Because our world has conditioned us to expect the worst and filter our dreams through the pre-placed limits on us. We are pushed to lose our imagination, our ability to dream big, to believe for anything at all, and that leaves us stagnant and trapped where we are. So if we happen to find an adult who is extremely confident in who they are and exactly what they’ll do with their life, we face them as if they’re an anomaly. A superhero of adults. A shining example of what young adults should be like. And yet we turn right around and continue to listen to the agenda of our world, pushing us to abandon our big dreams, our faith, and our confidence in anyone at all.
But for two great reasons, we cannot afford to lose mountain-moving faith. We can’t give it up, both the faith for the physical things, and the faith in spiritual things.
Many people have passed down the phrase “if you believe you can’t do it, then you probably can’t” to those younger than them. This phrase has so much weight. Many times I’ve seen in others and in my own life how the fear of failure or lack of confidence knocked down every effort to succeed. The fact is that if we don’t believe in something greater, something to push us and motivate us, there will be no success. No dream ever came true by sitting on the couch moping about how impossible it seems. I guarantee that you, the reader, have had big dreams or plans before and have had someone tell you that they just wouldn’t happen. Did you power through to make it happen? If you did, congratulations! You’re on the pathway to greatness. You have to start the momentum and keep the ball rolling. Pursuing the dreams you have, acting on that immeasurable faith, and continuing to take steps of faith is essential to being successful in our physical goals. But how are we going to act on faith if we have none to drive us?
More importantly, in our spiritual lives, we must also mimic that childlike faith. Since faith is defined as complete confidence in something or someone, we must look at where we place that confidence. Who is our faith in?
When children were brought to Jesus, the disciples rebuked them. They felt Jesus was too important for small children. He couldn’t be bothered by such things. And they were completely wrong, because “…when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’” (Mark 10:14-15). Jesus was making it clear that he cared for the people the world called insignificant and unimportant. He had time for children that would run to Him, more than those who stepped away and would not approach Him, and he said that if you cannot learn to receive the kingdom of God like those children did, unashamed and unafraid, then you won’t be able to enter it at all.
What does this tell us about our spiritual lives?
We need to put our faith in Jesus. Complete, uninhibited, unlimited faith. We must fully know that we are His children and can approach Him as our father at any time. Sometimes it’s so easy to fall into a negative spiral of thought, saying “I’m not good enough to go to God”, “I messed up way too much by now”, “God doesn’t have time for me”, but we are called the children of God! If we can humble ourselves and know “maybe I can’t do it by myself, but my father sure can!”, there is no telling how far you will go.
In the natural world, we need to have goals and dreams, and we need to have enough faith to take action and do things to achieve them. But in a relationship with Jesus, it’s not about who has done the best, or the most, or who’s the most important… It’s only by his grace through faith that we are saved. We need to trust that Jesus is there for us, that we are His children, and if we have faith to run to Him in every situation, He will do the rest.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t reach Jesus, that you’ll never live up to His “expectations”, that’s it’s unrealistic. You don’t have to be skeptical in the kingdom of God about his love and ability to do unimaginable things in your life. Come to Him as a little child, full of faith, believing for anything, trusting God will walk with you to the fulfillment of your dreams in His kingdom. You are His child. Have faith in your father.