being childlike means knowing you are small

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

The constant repetition of these phrases, in my head and from my mouth:

“I can handle this.”

“No thanks, I don’t need help.”

“I can figure this out.”

“I’ve got this one.”

The all-too frequent attitudes quietly abiding in me – stuff I KNOW BETTER than to say, but still it percolates around inside, shaping motivations:

“I don’t need your input on this, thanks.”

“I probably know more about this than you do.”

“If I want your advice, I will ask for it.”

“I’m experienced in this – why are you trying to tell me about it?”

(Oh, you don’t have these thoughts?  Well then!  We’ve established:  you are a better person than me.  This is not surprising to me.)

All of these things boil down to what we put *nice* words on like “independence” or “strength,” but which too often boil down to more truthful terms like stubbornness, pride, or arrogance. 

Little children, our pastor pointed out this past Sunday, are aware of their smallness.  They know they can’t reach certain things without help from big folks.  They understand that they are dependent on grown-ups for a lot of things. 

As he talked about this, I thought of how very much I am NOT “childlike” in this area.  I can do anything I set my mind to…just ask me.  I tend to believe that most of the time.  It is exceedingly difficult for me to accept help.  I mean, I have come a long way in that department, but still, when others offer to help me, I generally turn them down.  Well meaning folks extend words of advice or encouragement, and I have to work not to bristle at it – not to take their offer as a hint that they think I don’t know what I’m doing. 

One of the strangest-to-me concepts that I’ve been processing over the last few years is that “independence” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.  That individual strength is not the pillar that it might seem to be, at first glance.  That we NEED each other – that God created us that way.  That the need is a GOOD thing, in that it builds community.  That where I deny my need, I deny opportunity for connection.  Interdependence is a beautiful tool to hone, sharpen, grow, and change us.  We are fools to work as hard as some of us do to avoid it. 

This being “like a little child” is serious business, eh? 

Good thing He will do it in me, where I am willing.  I am willing!  And praying that you will be willing, too. 

 

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