“Do I have bones?” my three-year-old son timidly asked.
“Yes,” I answered without further explanation, but I well knew that more questions would follow.
It was bedtime. My little boy was supposed to be going to sleep but as he lay restless in the bed, I knew that something was troubling him.
After several minutes of pondering, he finally declared, “I don’t like bones.”
At this point, I knew exactly what sparked this conversation. Halloween had just passed and spooky decorations were everywhere. Houses were clad with spider webs, witches, monsters and… SKELETONS. And it was those creepy skeletons that scared my little boy the most. He just did not like them. So, I chose my next words very carefully.
“You know,” I said. “God gave you your bones. He made us all with bones.”
With a slight hint of reservation in his voice, my little boy responded, “I don’t like God.”
“But God loves you very much! That’s why he made you with those bones,” I explained. “Without bones, you couldn’t do anything. You couldn’t sit; you couldn’t stand; you couldn’t walk. God gave you bones so you can be strong, you can jump, you can run and –”
“—And I can fly?” he optimistically interrupted as the wheels began to turn in that little head of his and a spark reignited in his sleepy eyes.
So, without hesitation or any fear that I would be squashing the dreams of a three-year-old child, I emphatically replied, “Oh, no! Little boys cannot fly!”
Flying –it seems like all little boys want to fly. They run around the house donned with capes, extend their arms into the air and make a “shhhhhhhhh” sound to create that rushing wind effect. If we’re lucky, that’s the extent of the flying dream. If we’re not so lucky, well, we find ourselves breaking our necks to grab our little boy from the back of the couch just before he leaps off onto the hardwood floor. A belly flop onto the hardwood floor – now that’ll crush a kid’s dreams!
I’m sure the dream to fly is not limited to little boys. In fact, all kids seem to believe that they are indestructible at some point. Nothing can stop them because fear is simply not a factor. This attitude is usually quite alarming for us parents but secretly, I think, we all wish we still had a little bit of that in us.
So where does it go? What happens to this “no fear” attitude? At what point in our lives do we lose our sense of adventure and courage? At what point do we let go of our dreams? I wish I had the answer but at some point, we all grow up. We get hurt from those belly flops in life and we come to the conclusion that this is how it will always be. We failed once. We’ll most likely fail again. We start to think about the negative consequences. Will I get hurt? Will I fail? Will my heart get broken? And eventually, we quit trying.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We consider the consequences because we have grown up. We know to stop and think before we take a leap. We know to pray for God’s direction, to seek advice from godly counsel, to weigh our options and to do our research. But I wonder how often we shy away from trying something new or from doing what we are sensing God telling us to do simply because we are afraid – afraid of rejection, afraid of being mocked or afraid of losing friends. How much time do we waste asking ourselves “what if”? The “what ifs” of life are exhaustive, folks!
If we can learn anything from our fearless kiddos, it may be that the “what ifs” are not all negative. Sometimes, building that contraption to reach the cookie jar on the top of the refrigerator actually works. And sometimes, crossing the street to knock on the neighbor’s door means discovering a new friend. So, what if everything works out perfectly? What if we find acceptance? What if we find ourselves in just the place God wants us to be, doing exactly what He wants us to be doing?
Do you remember those days when you dreamed you could fly? Cast off those fears that are holding you down and focus on the positive. You never know. You just might find yourself SOARING!