Jesus tells His followers to “become like children” to enter the Kingdom of God (MT18:1-9).
Too often, we see God’s Kingdom as this great destination that is yet to come. While this is true, the Kingdom is also achievable now. Jesus tell us so in Mark’s Gospel (1:14-15) that the Kingdom is at hand as he tells those listening in Galilee to “repent and hear the good news.”
The good news, the Gospel, is one of love. God’s Kingdom, this hopeful vision for creation, is fulfilled every time we extend this love.
And it is children who reveal this love in their authentic selves. They can teach us how to better live, not worried about the thoughts of others or the needs of the ego. Rather, they are simply present to the moment, attracted to, and often giving, true love.
I see it in my daughter and how she moves freely in this world. It is fascinating to watch others watch her. They marvel at her joy, her love of life.
This is what Jesus means when He says we are to become like children.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus tell us not to worry. Jesus tells us to be present. Jesus tells us to love.
This is what children do. All they want to do is to play, to create, to be with others, and to be free.
You can do the same.
And even if it feels too difficult or unrealistic, do it for your life’s companions, your fellow pilgrims on this journey. Try to be present, if not for you, for others. Inspire them not for your attire or belongings, but by your love of life.
When I remember those loved ones that I pray are now at peace in experiencing the love of our God, I miss most the energy of life that they exuded. Some did this better than others (often connected to their own personal experiences). I miss the pep in their step, the warm, loving eyes, and their welcoming smile. I miss those who spoke freely about their love, and I miss when those tougher ones cracked a smile revealing their inner joy.
In many ways, our society tells us to no longer be child like, to move away from these “childish ways.”
Jesus calls us into something greater, something authentic. This childlike love invites us to give it unconditionally.
But you can only give what you have.
I believe that you have that love, you may just be feeling a little stuck at the moment. Maybe there are some physical, mental, or emotional barriers that are weighing you down. Maybe your to-do list is just a bit too long at the moment.
So here are some quick ideas that can take either a few minutes or a few hours. Take this time to fill your cup with these simple strategies:
Put on that favorite song of yours, play the music nice and loud, and dance like no one is watching.
Call or email a loved one and tell them how grateful you are for them.
Go have that coffee or ice cream cone or glass of wine and take that walk in the park or around the block.
Play a game, grab the crayons and art supplies, watch your favorite movie, play with children (that you know).
Be like a child and watch your spirit rekindle. Do something simple that will bring you joy. Become a child once again.
Soon, you will shine a little brighter.
Your true self will feel encouraged to reveal itself a little more, and others will soon look at you and wonder what the secret is. You can tell them it is your return to your childish ways to better reflect the love of your God.