One day, during the upheaval of school from home, I was helping my niece with her homework. While smart and a quick learner, she didn’t appreciate the corrections I was offering as I critiqued the direction of her 2s or her S. I encouraged her to try again, despite the initial frustration of getting it wrong.
As she was begrudgingly doing it again, I thought about how so much of a child’s life is learning how to do things. Naturally, that involves a lot of trial and error as they learn to walk, read, write, ride a bike, hit a softball, do a cartwheel, snap their fingers, and the list goes on and on. Children have to start so often from a place of humble acceptance of their inability to do something they want to do.
I think I could learn a lot from that disposition.
In my life, it is easy to stay safe and do the things I know how to do or think I can do well. When it comes to looking like a fool, I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. I much prefer to watch and see how others do it before attempting something on my own. Yet some things can only be learned by trying, failing, and trying again.
During quarantine, I decided to try to re-learn calligraphy. The workbook I referenced said that it takes practice and not to expect to get it right away. In my pride, I’m quite certain I read that and thought, “Yeah, but I might get it immediately.”
And I didn’t get it immediately. That initial failure is really good for my ego. Yet it made me realize that babies and children might be the most stubborn people on the face of the earth. A child’s whole life is filled with so many things to grow in and work on, all slowly moving toward successful mastery of the skill.
Perhaps this is yet another reason why Christ asks us to be like children. In the process of learning to walk, they fall many, many times. Yet they don’t give up, but continue with a resilience that is admirable. With a humble disposition of needing to be shown (even they are often exerting their own desire to do it on their own), they make themselves open to learning new things, new ideas, and new skills. My stubborn dislike of failing often prevents me from the childlike risk taking that is found in the littlest among us.
The Lord wants us to be little again, to run the risk of failing because faithfulness is more important to Him than success. He desires us to be a child who doesn’t let the possibility of a wounded ego prevent them from the adventure of trying something new.
What are the ways the Lord is asking you to take a risk, to try even if failure happens before success? How is He asking you to jump, trusting that even if you fall, it all happens within the fold of His hands?