Wings. A mermaid tail. Cheetah legs.
If you’ve seen the video that went around Facebook a while back where people are asked a simple question, you know that these are some of the answers. If you’ve not seen the video or you don’t plan to, here’s what happens.
A group of adults and kids are asked a simple question: What would you change about your body? The adults gave the answers I expected. They shared things they didn’t like about themselves. Stretch marks, big ears, foreheads and of course, I was naming my own things off in my head.
Then the kids had a turn. Unlike the adults, they didn’t see anything wrong with the bodies they had, but they could think of some pretty cool add-ons like “cheetah legs so I can run really fast” and “wings so I can fly” and of course, “a mermaid tail.”
Of course, the moral of the video was that we adults need to stop judging our bodies so harshly and being so critical and see our potential for more. But after I watched the video and scrolled away, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. All I kept thinking was, “When?” When does it happen? At what age to we stop believing that our bodies are amazing and capable of wonderful things and start seeing our flaws and critiquing our imperfections.
You see, I have two beautiful girls and one adorable son. My girls are starting to cross that line and ask questions about their perceived flaws. They’ve begun playing the comparison game. They have begun to see the world’s definition of beauty and have started to measure themselves by that ruler.
My son, on the other hand, told me today he can fly.
Once when Jesus was speaking to his disciples, he told them that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these and pointed to a child. He said that unless they had faith like a child, they wouldn’t enter the kingdom of God.
What is it about kids that would make Him say that?
Maybe it is their uncanny ability to believe; to see beyond reality to possibility.
To look beyond flaws to miracles.
To focus past the limitations to the realm of expectations.
And it’s not fake. It’s genuine. It’s real. It’s faith. It’s the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
That video reminded me of the precious part of childhood. The flaws are still invisible, but they won’t be for long. How can we preserve that in our faith? How can that translate into our churches and our homes?
Maybe just maybe, we have got to stop focusing on all our flaws.
Things like “not my gift”, “not my calling”, “not good enough”. Or the flaws in our churches like not enough money, not enough space, not enough volunteers. Or maybe in others like not holy enough, not mature enough, not loving enough.
Maybe having faith like a child is believing that sharing the truth of the gospel still changes lives.
That the Word of God is still living and active.
That the church is still the hands and feet of Christ.
Faith that sees past this natural world to a world that our minds can only begin to imagine.
My girls are getting older and limitations are starting to outweigh imagination. Flaws seem bigger than faith. Mistakes bigger than victories. As their mom, I want to scream to them, “Don’t listen to the lies! You were made for more. Your spirit can fly. You are beautiful!”
And I realize… the loudest voice they can hear is the one I live in front of them.
I need to have faith like a child for them. I need to live a life that doesn’t listen to the lies myself and believes that my spirit can soar on wings like eagles.
I need to be that place that they can look to and no matter what the world says, show them that their childlike faith was always right and she can dream big with God.
But it’s bigger than just me and her. There’s an entire generation of kids that right now know that God can make a blind man see, let a crippled man walk, loves us more than life itself and will do anything to be our friend.
And it is up to us Church, to show to them loudly that is true!
We have to stop telling them all our flaws and start showing them we believe and we live like we do. We do things like pray with them, serve with them, worship with them, and love others recklessly with them. Because if we don’t give them something to measure life by, the world most certainly will. We can’t change the messages they will get from them but we can most certainly make sure ours comes through loud and clear.
Walk by faith. Not by sight. And fly.
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For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-focused, intergenerational ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, Seedbed, and D6 Family.