When do our hearts splinter in a dozen multitasking directions, I wonder? Whether out of necessity or out of a drive to be efficient and productive, we try to do as many things as we can at once. Making dinner while talking on the phone. Checking e-mail while at a meeting. Texting while walking down the hall. Eating on the run. There’s a certain kind of pride that comes from being so proficient at doing two or three things at a time.
But recently I was with my five-year-old niece and my three-year-old nephew, and they taught me a profound lesson about childlike faith. Childlike faith, it turns out, isn’t just about blind trust; it’s about putting your whole heart into something.
The thing about preschoolers is that they don’t do anything at 90 percent or 75 percent or, heaven forbid, halfway. Whatever they’re doing, they’re all in. Lyla and Tyler didn’t walk from place to place; they ran—or, whenever possible, raced. When they were at the park, they played with every ounce of energy in their little bodies. And when it was time to get in the car afterward, they were asleep before we even exited the parking lot, their treasures slowly slipping out of their clutched fingers.
On the last evening we were together, Tyler asked me to play in his band, replete with plastic drums, toy harmonica, and air guitar. He offered this instruction by way of invitation or warning: “In my band, we sing LOUD!” There was only one setting for this kid: wholeheartedness.
The same was true for Lyla. As she played detective, inspired by her newfound magnifying glass and soaring imagination, I was awed by her ability to tune out everything else around her—the dinner that needed to be made, the two dogs sidled up next to her, the cacophony of voices all around. I, on the other hand, was distracted, simultaneously trying to set the table and scoot into adult conversations while I played with her. But Lyla was looking for 100 percent: “I want you to look in my eyes when we’re playing,” she said earnestly.
And so on Sunday, when we were all in church together, it shouldn’t have surprised me that these kids would teach me about wholehearted worship too.
The keyboard struck a few telling introductory chords, and their eyes lit up. “We know this one!” They were dancing in their chairs before the chorus even began.
These two small voices grew louder and louder, and soon they were belting out the words.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
All around us, people started grinning and stealing glances at our volunteer choir. The one who reigns forever He is a friend of mine
Chorus by chorus, these little people were teaching us what worship sounds like: whole voice, whole body, whole heart.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
God says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13). And that’s exactly what I want. I want to be more like Lyla and Tyler. I want to chase after God not with just a distracted fraction of me, but with all of me. With my whole heart.
Diane johnson says
Thanks for sharing. What a great reminder that no matter where you are be all there. Tyler and Lyla are right there with many great theologians
I REALLY enjoy your posts website and book recommendations. I’m looking forward to your devotional and future writings
Thank you so much, Diane! Doesn’t Tyler look like Kyle at that age? You’re right–sometimes kids are the best theologians.
Lyla and Tyler are such beautiful children – I think they both look like you, Stephanie. What joy they bring to your entire family – thank you Lord for these precious lives.
Aww, thanks, Maggie! It’s true: God brings so much joy in small packages!
After spending the week with Colin I also experienced this wholeheartedness. Wow that was a great way to remind us to keep the childlike faith.
There’s something about children that reminds us to wake up! Colin is so full of life and joy!
Jolene Underwood (@Faith_Eyes) says
I LOVE this! I’ve been wrestling with a good definition for child-like faith recently as I’m trying to clarify my love for the Lord at an early age. I love your definition Stephanie! I also love the use of song lyrics to convey the story and God’s message. It’s something I’ve been known to do a time, or two. Bookmarking this post for review later. Have a blessed day Stephanie.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Jolene! Blessings to you as you embark on the adventure of childlike faith.