“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
Matthew 18:3 AMP
Trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving. I cannot say that I naturally value these characteristics; in fact, only one would make my top five. But what I am acutely aware of right now, is just how thoroughly my “natural” is opposed to God and His ways and values.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Jer. 17:9 KJV
Who indeed? To be honest, part of me had recently moved into a lulled state, a kind of passivity regarding my relationship with God. The best I can describe it is as akin to a weird stress response that I’ve always had: I get sleepy. When things begin to pile up and resolution seems permanently delayed, I get sleepy. Probably systemic laziness, but that’s what happens. And it was happening again—but I just didn’t see it.
I desperately need the Lord to Father me, because I can’t even be counted on to consistently recognize just how desperate a need I have. Not unlike a small child, around 3 or 4 years of age.
I have many a hilarious and frightening and humbling and poignant reminder of just how dependent and unreasonable little children are. One of my nephews was afraid of strange noises, like washing machines, vacuums, and fans. I turned on an oscillating fan once, and he tried to climb my mom like a tree while wailing like a howler monkey. There was no way to reason with his fear, which was nonsensical.
My younger brother and sister broke into a box of powdered donuts when they were 3 years old. The box was on top of the fridge, and they climbed a trashcan and then each other to reach these donuts. After eating several, they heard my aunt coming down the stairs, so they ran to the living room. She found them sitting quietly on the couch, sporting identical powdered sugar-coated faces. When she asked about the donuts, they lied without shame. It never occurred to them to wipe off the evidence of their crime, because like all little kids, they were kind of dumb.
While standing next to a swimming pool, one of my nephews shoved another nephew in. He thought it was hilarious. He didn’t know that his cousin couldn’t swim without floaties, nor did he give any thought to the state of my dear brother-in-law’s attire after his fully-clothed rescue dive. My nephew was 3 years old and he couldn’t see anything beyond his own little life and world. His ignorance made him dangerous to himself and everyone else—as it does to us all.
When I was 3, I rode my brand new big wheel out of the neighborhood, down a big hill, across a busy road and into a park where I crashed into a bunch of sticker bushes. I was stuck there for an hour or two before the search party found me. I didn’t think about how my adventure would affect anyone else; I wanted to do it and so I did. I was selfish and stupid and fearless and as vulnerable to death as I’ve probably ever been. I was a very typical child.
And I feel very much as though I’m back at the top of that hill, looking down and not knowing what’s going to happen. I don’t know much, but I know that my life’s about to change again, and unlike 3 year-old me, I’m terrified by what I see. As ridiculous as it is to say, it feels like simply acknowledging my existing weakness and vulnerability is effectively waving a red flag at all enemies, foreign and domestic. As if running from the truth will keep me safe somehow. Hey! That sounds an awful lot like the logic on display in my stories of little kids! It seems the tale of my “maturity” has been greatly exaggerated. And you know what? I feel fine.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 NKJV