There's not a single child I've met who doesn't believe that they can do anything. There's not a single little girl I've met who doesn't think she's a princess. There's not a single little boy I've met who doesn't think he's a superhero. Though they may not explicitly announce their secret indestructible identity, (although they often will,) they live as though there's nothing they cannot do.
They act like royalty one second, and wild Tarzans the next. They go from the bottom of the sea to Everest in a moment. They can have quiet tea parties for animals who talk, fight off pirates for buried treasure, and travel to Mars all before naptime.
When opportunities to try new things come around, it's the teens and adults who shy away, glancing nervously around to see if anyone else will try. It's the young'uns who step right up and see what they can do. They want to learn all the tricks. They want to try every stunt. They want to wear every dress. They want to drive every car. They want to fly.
They are daredevils. They don't see consequences. They don't analyze the situation. They just dive straight in, headfirst. They test the limits. They make mistakes, get scraped up, break a bone or two, get a few burns, twist an ankle, stub a toe, get a bloody nose.
I have a distinct memory from when I was about six years old. Our tenants saw me digging madly in the garden outside with a miniature plastic spade. Amused, they came over and asked me, "Karis, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
I remember the conversation because of how they responded when I told them, completely seriously, "I'm going to be a Princess, a Queen, a soldier, a police officer, a firefighter..." Here they began to snicker, "...a doctor, a nurse, a bus driver, a teacher, a pilot, a chef..." Here they began to laugh and shake their heads like adults love to do, "...a rockstar, a pianist, a dancer, a gymnast..." Here they couldn't contain themselves anymore. "...and a builder and an artist."
I clearly remember their reply through their squinty, laughing eyes: "Is that all?" To which I though to myself, 'No....' but to which I replied, "Yes." I was confused why my answer was so funny. I was being totally honest. My life seemed to stretch on without end, so why wouldn't I be able to do everything? What was holding me back? I was healthy and strong- why couldn't I do it all?
Their last bit of advice they gave to me before leaving to chuckle over tea was, "Karis, that sounds amazing! But normally people just pick one or two of those things."
They are born without the little voice that says, 'You can't do that.' Unfortunately, they are given that voice as they grow.
They see the cliff and immediately think, 'I can climb that- watch me!' Then they scamper towards it as fast as their little legs can carry them, before they are caught by Mum, who lets them know how dangerous it is. They learn that heights are not their friend. They learn to stay away from the edge. They learn to keep their feet on the ground.
They see the water and think, 'I'm a mermaid- watch me swim!' And they go to jump into the deep pool but are stopped by the lifeguard who tells them that they aren't old enough, strong enough, or skilled enough. They would drown. They learn to stay in the shallow water. They learn to swim like a human, not like a mermaid.
They see the swing and think, 'I can fly- watch me do it!' And they go higher and higher until they are almost touching the clouds... until Dad runs alongside them and works the swing lower and lower, until it's oscillating at a safe height. They learn that they could fall. They learn that gravity pulls them down. They learn to play it safe.
They learn that some things are impossible. They learn that they are mortal. Fallible. Fragile.
See, most young children don't have the capacity to look at themselves through a lens tainted by the world. They don't see themselves objectively. They don't see themselves from the outside looking in. They don't shape themselves based on the world around them, but they believe they can shape the world with what's inside.
But as we get older, we learn how to be critics. We become very good at figuring out the flaws and researching our inadequacies. We trade in our eyes that once saw only love, grace, acceptance, for eyes that seek judgment, analysis, and objectivity.
Jesus loves the way children see things. He loves their hearts. He loves their minds. He loves their souls. He tells the older people to do their best to remember the way their mind worked as a child. He tells us to live like them. To be content with innocence, and to have faith without condition. To stop limiting ourselves, and by extension, God.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in
the Kingdom of Heaven?" 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.
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
Mark 10:13-14, 16~
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 Heaven belongs to
such as these... and he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them,
and blessed them."
The thing is, even those children that Jesus blessed and used as examples of purity and faith... they grew up. They probably learned how to be insecure. They were probably taught how to find flaws, and criticize themselves and those around them. It's the age old problem. We take God's gift of life and show Him everything that is wrong with it. We take what he has designed so meticulously for us and throw it in his face.
We all face self-consciousness, fear of rejection, and look in the mirror to see imperfection staring back at us. As a body of believers, however, this is not how Christians should be living life. We are hear to speak Truth into people's lives, and live by that Truth! To tell people they are priceless, loved, and beautiful, and then look in the mirror and remind ourselves of the things we are incapable of... it's called being two-faced.
Let's learn to call out the beauty we see in others. What we are tempted to criticize, let's look at through God's eyes. While we see flaws as hindrances, He sees them as bursting with potential. What we call imperfections, he calls opportunities to glorify Him. He makes beauty from ashes, crowns from dust, flowers from rain.
So let's step back and take a look at our list of possibilities we had when we were children. Let's look at the things we believed we could and would do... and let's stop crossing off options. Don't limit yourself, and don't limit God. Don't dream of accomplishing just one thing. Bring back the "and's" from your childhood list of dreams. Who ever said that we could do one thing, and nothing more? Who ever said that God created us to succeed in one area, and fail everywhere else? No. It's not up to you to make that call. It's up to Him. He can take you and turn you into that jack of all trades, or he could turn you into an expert in a specific department. The point is, don't close off His options! Be ready to answer His one call, or his many calls! He can take a willing heart and use it to level mountains, bring down empires, build societies, change the world.... or He can take a willing heart and use it to level mountains AND bring down empires AND build societies AND change the world.
You and I are full of iniquities, but we are also full of a God who is not.
He will take a willing heart. A heart that says nothing is impossible.
A six-year-old's heart.