April 22: Living Life through the Eyes of a Child

Toby wanted sour cream on top of his ham and cheese sandwich at lunch today.

I know. I was thinking the same thing.

This was the same sandwich he agreed to eat for lunch just moments before, only to be grossed out upon its perfectly toasted completion. So he wanted sour cream on top, because that makes it better. I tried to convince him to have it on the side, or maybe with ranch instead. But no, the verdict was in: sour cream on top. Hey, I like to choose my battles, and if that makes it edible to him, so be it.

He didn't just eat it, he LOVED IT! He was quick to say that we should have this every day for lunch. Who knew sour cream was such a stealthy negotiator in advocating the cause of the ham and cheese sandwich.

I couldn't help but smile as I sat there and watched him try to eat this sandwich without touching the sour cream. After each bite he would wipe his bright white lips clean. That never gets old, you know: the silly things that kids think and do, the funny things they say. Watching each of them develop from a tiny, helpless baby into a walking, talking, thinking personality, a unique soul with desires, passions, and strengths of their own. I could keep having more babies for that reason alone.

And I began to think, when did we start to care about what we're "allowed" to put on a sandwich? When did we lose that awesome ability to say what we think, mean what we say, and not feel bad about it? When did we start caring so much about what others think that we became ashamed of our true selves, burying them under layers upon layers of hurt, expectations, lies, doubt and fear?

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. {Matthew 18:2-4 NIV}

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me. {Matthew 18:2-5 MSG}

Unless you return to square one. Become simple and elemental again. Back to a time when we danced like no one's watching, sang like nobody's listening, and loved like we'd never been hurt. Back to a time when the only thing that mattered was our Father's approval, and we didn't have a worry in the world because we trusted his perfect love for us. Back to a time when we looked at the world around us with a sense of wonder and amazement. What would life look like if we lived it through the eyes of a child again?

Children have a way of looking at life that is contagious. They are enamored with the simple things, and it brings them great joy. When is the last time you went on a walk with a three-year-old? If it's been a while, please allow me to refresh your memory. On this walk, you will be shocked to find that the child will not behave in the same manner as you. The child will not move as quickly as you'd like or even stay on the sidewalk. In fact, just expect their behavior to be the opposite of yours. You will be focused on walking, and he will be running off to check out that bug or touch something in the neighbors yard or stop to pick the dandelion by the driveway. The child is truly present, soaking in every inch of that walk and the beauty of nature, while you are concerned about the fact that he trampled through your neighbors flowerbed, worried that he might run into the road, and frustrated that he cannot seem to walk like he's supposed to, on the sidewalk at a moderate pace. Like you.

But the child doesn't care about any of that. He's too busy enjoying the walk, the simple things in life.

Not that those other things are aren't important, either! You should be concerned about safety and respecting property, but so often we let those things get in the way and cloud what really matters, which is the walk itself. We need to allow the Lord to strip back all the layers of

I should...

I really need to...

Everyone expects me to...

What will they think if...

If only I...

Down to the truest form of ourselves, so that we can really live and enjoy the walk of life how it's meant to be: free from the many layers of guilt, hurt, expectations, doubt, and fear. I love how the Lord, in his amazing grace, gives us the blessing of children so that we can better see ourselves. They open our eyes to things that are more difficult to see in ourselves, and the God of redemption offers us a road back to a time when life was more simple and more joyful. A chance to change our perspective and view the world through a different lense.

So put some sour cream on your sandwich, or eat it however YOU like it, and live life through the eyes of a child today.

I won't judge. ;)

Who are you underneath all those layers? Do you find yourself able to live in child-like freedom, or has your true self been buried deep inside?

How have the children in your life taught you more about yourself? About God?

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