As children, many of us have reveled in games of pretend. C. S. Lewis writes in his chapter “Let’s Pretend” in Mere Christianity that as we grow in our walk with the Lord, sometimes we need to fake it. He says it about growing spiritually. Could it also be crucial with our parenting?
That idea is jarring and smells of the worst charge against Christianity: hypocrisy.
Until we think about what he really means by this . . . .
Think about babies. We talk to them immediately–telling them how much we love them, how cute they are, etc. We never, ever think, “I’d better wait to talk until my baby initiates the conversation. He doesn’t know what I’m saying yet anyway.”
We start off pretending they know what we’re saying, and eventually they do. In the same way Lewis tells us to act like nicer people than we actually are. Sometimes we need to act loving to our children when we don’t feel up to it.
By doing this, we can allow the Spirit of God to shape us into better people. We grow into the people Jesus wants us to be—by pretending we already are.
How can this work with our spiritual growth?
If you are like me, your devotional life has its ups and downs. One day you feel super motivated to read your Bible. Other times you feel stuck and not at all motivated. Feelings vacillate.
Unlike our feelings, God’s promises are secure. The more faithful we are in reading his word, the more he will bless us through it.
But we need to remember not to read the Bible out of guilt.
God wants our hearts—not feelings of guilt or shame.
I love that in Jesus Calling Sarah Young reminds us not to feel ashamed that our minds wander. She says God knows we are that way, because that’s the way he made us. We just have to work at getting back on track. Just like with making time for reading the Bible.
What if you plan now for a time to read the Bible tomorrow? Even if it’s only for five minutes. Then write yourself a note somewhere to help you remember.
Choose a time your house is usually quiet. Preferably before you check your phone or go online. For me, deciding to spend this time before checking for messages allowed me to be much more consistent and enjoy devotional time much more.
But we need to be careful not to beat ourselves up about missing planned times with God. Just keep moving forward.
Give it a try, and wait for God to bless you abundantly with a strong sense of his presence in your life. Your child will notice that too.
I’d love to hear what has worked for you and what has been problematic or frustrating.