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2022: Time for a Personal Reset?

Childish, or child-like...

December 27, 2021

Pastor Bill Johnson says: “We need to remain childlike. Children don’t dream of being insignificant.” We need to be reminded of this during these crazy, non-sensical times. Children start off seeing life beautifully and innocently. But eventually, life gets to them, molds them, holds them, and hurts them. So often, temporary negatives become permanent negatives, and lifetimes are spent searching for significance in all the wrong places. 

Recently I found a short story my son Matthew wrote when he was about ten years old. It illustrates how children don’t dream of being insignificant. The story is called “The Bass.” If you think fishermen have big fish stories, wait until you read Matt’s fish story:

“One day, I went fishing with my dad at Big Daddy Lake. Now, this lake did not get its name from some old fogey. No, it has bass the size of the state of Alaska. Well, anyway, I was using a crankbait as big as my head, and I cast it about twenty feet. I reeled in the fish. It was a little dinky bass.

While Dad thought about how I caught it on my "hipper"-size crankbait, I cast my lure again toward a big rock. This rock was not a pebble. It was a huge, mega-size bone-crushing rock. Well, I started reeling it in, and I felt a nibble. WWWWAAAHHHH!!!! Dad! Matt! AAAHH! SPLASH!!! Blurb, Blurb. 

Then I saw it. It was huge! It dragged me through the weeds and rocks. (The rock part kind of hurt.) Then I saw a tree, grabbed it, and I hung on for dear life. I started reeling the bass in. Finally, I got him close enough to grab him. Bad idea on my part. Weeeeeeeee! It was awesome. I saw the boat. I grabbed the boat and the fish and climbed in. 

I told Dad to get the “weigh-er.” The bass weighed six hundred pounds. Dad and I went back to the fish dock, and I won the Bass Tournament. Then, we went home and sat down to think about how I did it. Dad is still acting a little weird. I think it damaged his brain thinking that I caught a bigger bass than him. THE END.”

Well, you just looked through the eyes of Matthew, who has a big imagination and an even bigger positive attitude. 

As Pastor Johnson said, children don’t dream of being insignificant, especially ten-year-old Matt. It does mental and emotional harm to us adults to hate, gripe, become wounded, bitter, cynical, or lose our joy. It’s even worse to lose our childlike trust and perspective. Friedrich Nietzsche said, "He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself." The most brutal prison to escape can be one's mind. 

Jesus addressed this idea in Matthew 18. He wanted the people living through the dark times to look at life through the eyes of a child. Jesus didn't mean they should be childish. Instead, he suggested that to enter the kingdom of God, we must become trusting like a child. Otherwise, complex adult issues like those mentioned will paralyze us. To the pure, everything is pure.

When truth, simplicity, and purity fade, dragon people can’t see good or God anymore. They lose trust in God, and they lose their perspective. God is there, but they can't see God at work on their behalf. 

Wise but trusting people see God in both the good and the bad. The mature Christ-followers and people see God in pleasures and palaces and the barnyards and stables of life. When wise people follow a star and find a stable, they look for God in the stable and find Him. That takes seeing things the way God sees them by looking through the eyes of a child.

God chose to become a baby, not a ‘razzle, dazzle’ form of a king, politician, or entertainer. But, given time, that baby proved more potent than the whole Roman Empire. John Maxwell wrote about this truth from a writer penned many years ago. Read on:

“A century ago, men were following with bated breath the march of Napoleon and waiting feverishly for news of the war. And all the time, while in their own homes, babies were being born. But who could think about babies? Everyone was thinking about battles.

In one year, there stole into the world a host of heroes. Gladstone was born in Liverpool, England, and Tennyson at Somersby. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Massachusetts. The same day of that same year, Charles Darwin made his debut at Shrewsbury. Abraham Lincoln drew his first breath in Old Kentucky, and the birth of Felix Mendelssohn eventually enriched music in Hamburg. 

But nobody was thinking about babies. Everybody was thinking about battles. Yet, which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies born in 1809? When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants teaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a child to do it.”

So, what does 'childlike' look like for us adults and teenagers? “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. God’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume you know everything, run to God, not from God.” Proverbs 3:5-7.

This 2022, birth the baby of a personal reset. Don't allow current events to rob you of the awe and wonder of life. The year is new, why not you too? 

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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