Do you recall as a child in church hearing sermons about becoming mature in your relationship with God?
We no longer drink milk but begin to eat food, taking big, full bites to sustain us.
We grow and we mature and we move forward and learn the hard truths of the faith. The goal is a constant growing up.
We are taught to do our quiet time because it’s required work. We are taught to worship because it’s how we find God. But in that growing up, we often miss one of the most important stories of Jesus.
We miss the story about the children, who flock to Jesus for story time one afternoon. The mature ones, the adults standing next to Jesus, say, “There’s not time for this right now!” But Jesus says, “No. Become like the kids, so that you can find the Kingdom.”
The truth is, as adults, many of us are annoyed by the energized, joyful, fully present spirits of our children. We want them to grow out of it, to get on with it, to mature.
Instead, Jesus asks us to watch the children around us and mimic them. What does this mean for us, and for our faith in a very busy and chaotic world?
It could mean that we have the chance to begin adult-proofing our lives and our homes. We put off the busyness and we engage in creative wonder.
We stop and we listen.
We recognize that we are small.
We say please and thank you.
We live creatively, with imagination.
We show up for story time.
And we trust that we are taken care of.
My oldest son loves to go outside to the woods. We drove an hour outside the city where we live and the moment we got off of the interstate and began to see the trees, he said it.
“I feel safe here. The land makes me feel safe.”
He longs for the land, and it shows itself in every part of his being. Part of that is our Potawatomi blood, a longing to be one with the created world. But it’s also a human instinct, a return back to the garden, to the beginning.
My five-year-old was gauging his own emotions and telling me that the land speaks something to him that the skyscrapers don’t. He was recognizing that we need to be outside, alone with God, present with each other, to live a better kind of life.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Isn’t that an entire life lesson in itself?
So I am learning that we can adult-proof our lives by paying attention.
We listen to and gauge our own feelings, thoughts, emotions, and we walk in trust that just as God sees and know us, we can also see and know.
What if we spend so much time ignoring the children that we begin to ignore God?
Maybe we do not need to child-proof anything anymore, but we need to take steps in practicing child-likeness, and that means we step away from the adulting we so often convince ourselves we need to do every day of the week. The work. The worrying. The constant need to go and do.
This is what my book, Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places is about. It’s about moments of glory that call us out of our busyness into quiet, into noticing. Many of the stories are about my two boys, about seeing God through their eyes, about opening myself up to a world that is waiting to fill me with wonder and awe. These stories and prayers are from my life, and I wrote them in hopes that when you read them, you see spaces in your life that are full of glory, that are waiting to be noticed. Maybe as we begin to adult-proof the spaces in our homes, in our workplaces, in our everyday living, we will begin to see what we are missing in our own stories.
It’s about growing into a maturity that actually takes us backwards, back to what it means to be childlike again. They are stories that call us into presence and paying attention. And while it’s hard, it’s possible. It’s possible to make space, to listen.
In the way we need it, we can adult-proof our mindsets, our views, our want to make things more complicated than they are. We have the beautiful ability to see our faith in each other and in God the way our children see one another and God in their everyday lives.