Watching the learning process of babies is very interesting. A good friend’s daughter…let’s call the baby “Niecy”…was playing with these learning blocks one day. This was around the time of last year’s super bowl, so Niecy was only about 7 months old. As we adults spoke on the couch, it dawned on me that Niecy was VERY quiet. I looked at the floor and there was Niecy, mini-fist on head, trying to figure out where the star-shaped block she was holding fit into the larger cube of shape cut-outs. I desperately wanted to help her, and even sat next to her on the floor, waiting for her to stare at me and plead with her eyes to help her out. PLEASE! Niecy didn’t even notice me! She was way too fixed on the solution to her problem. When she finally got the star in the cube, she turned her head quickly at me, smiled, and clapped her hands (she’s really amazing)!
How things change as we grow up! We start off as babes intuitively BELIEVING we can accomplish ANYTHING!!! But as time goes on, and we become more socialized, our instinct towards “digging within” transfers to “seeking without.” To fix our problems, we look to the advice of friends in our lives…or friends in our heads (newsflash: Wendy Williams does not know you, so she is not your friend). Do not get me wrong, it is great to seek counsel. But if we are going to seek it, why not seek guidance from the One who knew the end from the beginning?
As I reflected on Niecy’s resilience, three major points resonated with me:
1) KNOW WHERE YOUR HELP COMES FROM! Niecy may not have known where the star was to go initially, but you know what, she was not looking to me to help her either! If only, at times, we could apply this to our adult lives. Quite often, before we seek God’s face, we are “all up” in someone else’s face, seeking their help. Not everyone who runs to our side can help us; not everyone who has some form of support is our supporter! And even when one has a service you need, THAT person may not be one you want to become indebted to in the future. Jesus not only loved children, but also their essence. In Luke 18:17, He proclaims that “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” God created the spirit of children to be trusting, obedient, and open to His ways! A child does not stress about where her next meal is coming from! She just TRUSTS that her parents will feed her. Let us, too, be more trusting that the Lord will work with us to handle our problems and find solutions. After seeking His counsel, He will surely direct you to the right people, books, (and blogs 🙂 ) Always remember that your “help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2)…and the Maker of you too!
2) FIX YOUR GAZE! Niecy was not trying to “dis” me; if she could re-tell the story, she would probably say she didn’t even know I was there. Her gaze was so fixed on the mission at hand. She determined that I may have been a possible distraction to her ultimate goal. Fighting distractions is a MAJOR STRUGGLE!!! The average person gets distracted six to ten times EVERY MINUTE! That equates to 360-600 times EVERY HOUR! And trust me, that is PLENTY of time for the devil to run havoc! When our sight is not fixed on the things of God, we leave room and opportunity for the enemy to plant distorted images, confuse, and deter us from our goals. We must “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) to have all things in order (including strength, peace, and wisdom). And how does one do this? By meditating on the things of God. In Psalm 1, we are told that a man is blessed when he does not follow ungodly advice or follow after sinful things. But one must then REPLACE those natural desires (to seek outside help) with SUPERNATURAL power…and Psalm 1:2 states that a blessed person “delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night.” In other words, to remain focused and on track, we all must find (and keep) time to READ the WORD OF GOD! Do not wait for Sunday to get it from your pastor (or the Word Network; please get off the couch sigh)…he or she is NOT the one you should be fixing your gaze on! Knowing the Word FOR YOURSELF is a form of weaponry against the attacks of the enemy. A short passage sums it all up well: Proverbs 4:20-27
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Hard to see where you fit right now?
“Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. Once you remove all the distractions, noise, negativity, and doubt, and focus on the Word of God on your heart, the blocks will start to fit!
3) BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! Niecy would not have found the solution if she would have quit after five minutes. She needed time to learn how she learns. The same goes for us. We can be so impatient with our progress that we PERCEIVE our enduring as non-progress: every setback, thus becomes a mini-tantrum! You may have heard at one time or another that “the steps of the righteous person are ordered (created/handmade) by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23. But sometimes we drop off the rest of the rest of the sentence: AND HE (MEANING US) DELIGHTS IN HIS WAYS (MEANING GOD). Our steps are ORDERED, but we can’t have it OUR WAY (like BURGER KING)…they MUST be God’s way. If you are like me, it takes time to wrap my head around the fact not only is God’s way the BEST way, but that for me to get the benefits He has for me, I must FOLLOW His way and surrender my will. And this requires us to practice being patient with God and ourselves. So you might as well enjoy the ride! As counter-intuitive as it seems, we are told to “rejoice in our suffering.” Romans 5:3. But why? The greatest example explains the reasoning. Jesus, while very much experiencing the pains of man, endured them because He knew what the end result would be–eternal life for all. He delighted on the end result of eternal salvation for you and me, rather than the temporary (but excruciating) death He was facing. Had He dwelled on his pain, where would we be today? The truth of the matter is He could not let sorrow settle in. Sorrow weakens vision and sight. (Psalm 6:7). It is natural to want to turn around and runaway from a task, a family problem, or even church because the suffering APPEARS to be overpowering your will. But “suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4). Do not be so fearful of a challenging time that you miss out on the blessing on the other side of your trial! And do not be so discouraged of the bumpy roads you encounter to reach HOPE. The “grace of God is sufficient” to allow us to go through the lessons we need to perfect our walk, because “His power is made PERFECT in our weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9. The question is are you gracious enough with yourself?
Applying “child-like” faith is truly a sign of maturity. Keep it simple. Focus on the goal. Fix your gaze. Exercise Patience!
…and clap for yourself 😉