Have you ever just listened to a conversation within a group of little kids?
I say “conversation”, but there is little conversing going on. There is no give and take in the communication. Just statements. Mostly random statements.
Conversation at my son’s preschool this morning:
Teacher: Good morning Marcus!
Marcus: When are we eating lunch?
Sally: I’m a princess!
Jeffrey: No. No. I’ve gotta potty.
Random Kid: Mr. Lindsey….your head is soooo big!
Teacher: Today is a special day!!
Highly Annoying Child: (random siren sounds at the top
of his lungs the entire time)
It’s like a comedy with a bad script.
If adults had conversations like little kids the world would be a pretty violent place.
Peggy: Honey, do you like this shirt?
Steve: Wow. You are soooo fat.
Peggy: (stab stab stab)
Little kids are like that because they have no pretense. They have not yet learned how to hide who they truly are…even for the sake of politeness or to avert a stabbing!
They have not developed a “safer” identity. They have given very little thought as to what others may think or expect of them. They just have a clear sense of what they want and they just get to the point. Their motives may not always be that innocent but their methods are pure. They are who they are…and nothing more.
I think this is part of the meaning behind what Jesus said in Mark 10. He uses a child to illustrate how we should approach God. He basically says a real relationship with God is predicated on the notion of us approaching it the same way a child would. With no pretense.
I am really good at hiding. If I played hide and seek right now, I’d be legit good! As long as I could find somewhere to fit my big butt! But I am pretty creative and I have patience…I could stay there a really long time. Little kids? Not so much. I pretty much dominate my kids in this game as they are laughing and making noises within the first few minutes. Kids stink at hiding.
I am good at hiding other stuff too. I am good at hiding who I really am. I am pretty creative about it too. I can create a complete image of a better me that I prefer to present everyone with…because I don’t trust everyone else to know the real me. The real me can be a little selfish and prideful. I like to appear I have it all together and that I am successful at everything I do. I DO have a big head!! I think people (and God) would like that version of me better! So that’s the one I go with…and it works pretty well for a while. The problem is it takes a tremendous amount of energy and vigilance to keep up appearances. Any chance at a real, authentic relationship with anyone else is forfeited as I am more concerned with propping up a false image.
I can manipulate people this way for some time…but I never have a deep, real relationship. Intimacy involves risk and deep inside, I am fearful. I am fearful of being known and loved. If they knew who I really was, they probably wouldn’t love me.
I can’t manipulate God this way. It’s kind of silly to even try. He sees through my charade. He made me and knows me even better than I know myself. He knows all of my gifts and all of my shortcomings…and He chooses to love me anyways. What’s the point of pretense when it comes to Him? All of my attempts to hide myself in my relationship with God seem as silly as Adam hoping to avoid God by hiding behind a tree!
We were created for a relationship with God. Relationships are built on truth and trust.
Maybe the healthier approach to my relationship with God is to come to Him like a child.
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” (Mark 10:13-16 ESV)