I have absolutely loved my time on Soul 61 and wouldn't change it for anything! I didn't expect it to so drastically impact my character and my attitude to learning but I’m so glad it did. I have learnt so much through the high quality and varied teaching; living with new people, and through my placement of kids work, which I adored. It was definitely the perfect placement for me!
I’ve learned so much from working with children and God has been teaching me how we can rekindle childlike attitudes in our lives. Every day and every child was different, but in every child I saw common characteristics that came straight from the heart God is calling us to have. Little children walk by love and live by faith and this is the model God wants us to live by too. Matthew 18:1-3 says “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’. He called a little child to him and placed the child among them, And he said 'truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What Jesus was saying is that having a child-like spirit is an essential condition of entering heaven; he is calling us to learn to be little again. He certainly isn't calling us to be immature or as naive as kids are, in fact in 1 Corinthians 14:20, Paul writes “Do not be children in your thinking; be infants in matters of evil (meaning completely innocent and inexperienced), but in your minds and understanding be adults”. God is calling us to be childlike, not childish and there is a big difference. Being childish is being selfish, throwing temper tantrums and whining and crying when we’re not getting our own way. We are talking about a purity of heart, a simplicity in our spirit and a life where God the Father is everything to us. We need to open our hearts to his deep parental love and let him truly be our dad.
Very small children are spectacularly dependent. They know they can do nothing, or almost nothing, towards the care of themselves and the supply of their own wants; they trust others for everything they need from food to play to the changing of nappies, yet they feel no anxieties or concern with this lack of control and live day by day on simple faith, knowing that they are loved. This is the type of parental dependence God is calling us to have and what he is wholeheartedly offering. The father wants us to know that when he sees us, he sees us as a little one. We’re not a big, strong, self-sufficient, independent, separate person - we're a baby, we're his baby. Little kids live in complete dependence because they know and openly receive the fact that the resources/ wealth and provision of their parents are naturally theirs too, because they know they are loved by them. Matthew 7:11 says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” God is our dad - in fact he’s the best dad ever - he loves us more than our natural parents do because his capacity to love is far greater. So, just as we yield to a good parent’s affection, provision and strength, we should yield to God’s care. Just like little children, we too need to openly receive God's love, resources and provision, because as his kids they are our inheritance, and he delights in giving them to us. As it says in Matthew 18, we need to have a childlike spirit and heart in order to receive them.
I love seeing a child’s delight when they see one of their parents. Recently one little boy ran at such speed and then jumped at his dad with this incredible trust, knowing that he would catch him. It struck me that God is offering us this everlasting parental love, longing for us to know we can jump into his arms and trust him with all our hearts in every situation.
So how can we practically return to this childlike dependence on God? Prayer is a great place to start! It is, among other things, an acknowledgment of God’s power, promises, and provision. When we pray, we show our dependence on God. When we confess our sins, we are depending on his grace and forgiveness. As we increase the amount of time we pray it increase our dependence on him. As it says in 1 Peter 5:7, we can make an active choice to "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. When we give things over to God to handle, we are saying we trust you, we depend on you.