This meme immediately sent me to the conversation I seem to have fairly regularly with my seven-year-old daughter. It often occurs during homeschool, but can occur during other instances as well, usually instances involving some sort of instruction. The conversation is always a variation of this one (we will use math):Daughter
: (being dramatic – crumpling onto the floor, folding her arms and burying her head, etc.) “I feel stupid!”Me
: “You aren’t stupid! You just haven’t learned it yet.”Daughter:
“I will never get it!”Me:
“You will get it. You just need to focus. Quit telling yourself these negative things. You will become what you think of yourself.”Daughter:
“But I can’t get it and I keep messing up!”Me:
“Look at me.” (wait until she does) “Did God say everything was good?” (she responds yes) “Were humans good?” (no, they werevery good
) “ Does God think you are stupid? Does mommy and daddy think you are stupid? Does God call you those things? Does mommy/daddy call you those things? Does God allow you to call other people things like that? Do mommy and daddy? Then why would I allow you to call yourself those things?”Daughter:
“I don’t know.”Me:
“God tells us that we are heirs. We are part of a kingdom. You need to act like that. Just because you don’t understand, or you are messing up a lot, that doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable. It just means that you are having a hard time and need help. So ask for help. Stop saying bad things about yourself. Tell yourself things that are good. Like ‘I keep messing up, but I know I will get it.’ Or ‘I lost this time, but next time I will do better than I did this time.’ If you keep being dramatic and focusing on all your mistakes, then you will teach your brain that math is bad and you won’t ever have an easy time. All you need to do is ask for help.”
You see, something I am trying to teach my daughter is that you become what you think of yourself. If you always think of yourself as a loser, you will likely be someone who always loses. If you think of yourself as incapable of understanding math, then you will likely struggle with math. We need to think of ourselves the way God thinks of us, as his children.
This concept is hard for a child, but it applies. And it applies to us as adults. How many times do you berate yourself, telling yourself you should’ve done this/that, I’m a bad ______ because I can’t do _______? I hear Christians berate themselves because they aren’t consistent in their quiet time, they don’t pray well, they keep falling to temptation, their words aren’t eloquent, or they aren’t as good a Christian as _________. As Christians, we know we need to be striving to be Christ-like, but it seems so far out of our reach. To be like Jesus?! Who can do that?!
The answer is: no one. But that doesn’t mean we are failures. It doesn’t mean we are stupid or that we will never get it. It only means that we need to ask God for help. God isn’t looking down at us and seeing us as failures and disappointments. He sees us as children: learning how to do things, figuring out our boundaries, making mistakes, and experiencing new things. He wants us to grow and mature, just as a baby grows into a child, then a teenager, then an adult. He is there, guiding us and teaching us, if we will listen.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11 Think about a young child. Everything is a new experience. They mess up and do things we see as silly. And they often mess up over and over until one day it clicks. That’s how we are to God. We are babes in our spiritual walk when we compare ourselves to Jesus. Billy Graham, himself, would be a babe next to Jesus. And just as a child learns as he/she grows, so do we, spiritually. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk,
that by it you may grow up into salvation. 1 Peter 2:2 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14 Yes, you messed up. Focus on how to make it better. It doesn’t have to be perfect right away (you wouldn’t expect a student to go from 75% to 100% over night). Improvement is what matters. He is growing us spiritually and as long as we are heading in the right trajectory, we are becoming more and more like Christ. So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Ephesians 4:14-15 God sees us as his children. He wants us to grow and mature. He is looking at us and saying, “Stop saying that about yourself. You just haven’t learned it yet. All you need to do is ask for help.”
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