What I Learned from My Three-Year-Old about Talking to God
About my writing: My passion is to develop leaders who have eternity in mind with Jesus as their guide. To that end, I write about two topics. The first is leadership and character development. The second is Biblical principles through the lens of a leader.
There are three things my 3-year-old son, Danny, says to me that tug at my heart. I believe when adults use these expressions, they tug on God’s heart as well.
I need you.
My son calls me Babi, so when he says, “Babi, I need you,” or “Babi, can you help me?” something moves within me. I pay attention. More often than not, I jump up to help him.
There are different levels of need that Danny has, of course, just like we do as adults. The first level sounds like, “I am annoyed that I can’t reach this toy under the couch.” While it is a need, Danny could do without the toy, or if he tries harder, like getting a stick, he could probably get it himself. I am not especially moved when I hear an annoyed and demanding “I need you.”
The second level sounds like, “I am thirsty, and I need help to open a water bottle.” Here, I am much more inclined to help him. I know his little hands are not strong enough to accomplish something he really needs—a drink.
The third level may not even be expressed in words. Rather, it may be a scream, “Babi, I need you!” or simply a shriek, “Babi!” This happens when Danny perceives he is in danger. While my perception may sometimes differ, I love that he knows that I can and will jump to his rescue. As would any loving father, I gladly do.
In your leadership role, do you ever tell God, “I need you?” As leaders we work hard to be strong, confident, independent, and wise. After all, many times we have to make quick and consequential decisions. However, if we are not careful, this confidence can lead to arrogance and our neglect to bring God into the picture. I hope we all remember today that we need God. If we go through our leadership without Him, we are travelling a desolate road, regardless of what we accomplish.
On the other hand, what does not move me at all with my son, is an “I want this” statement. Danny often stops an iPad cartoon he is watching, points to a gadget, and tells me, “Babi, I want this.” While I can and want to give him things he desires, I am more interested in his growth and progression into healthy adulthood, than in his acquisition of things.
When we tell God, “I want this new car. Lord, give me this new car. Lord, I need you. I want this,” I believe God is less interested in helping us. Just as a human father, giving us things is less important to God than shaping and molding us into spiritual adults.
I believe He would rather hear us ask, “Lord, I need You to protect my family. Bless and protect the hearts of my children. Lord, I need You to strengthen my marriage. Lord, I need You to use me.” These are the ‘I need you’s’ that we as parents like to hear, and God does as well.
Come to God today with a humble attitude of ‘I need you’ and see the miracles that will happen in your life.
Can you teach me?
Another question that stops me in my tracks is, “Babi, can you teach me?” Danny has been learning to play drums. I usually play the piano, and he plays drums with me. Sometimes, he will come to the piano, and he really wants to play but is unable to yet. He looks to me with yearning and says, “Babi, can you teach me?”
I have spent most of my life playing piano. I would like nothing more than to see Danny play piano as well so we can share it together. When he says, “Can you teach me?” everything in me stops, and I think to myself, “Of course! Yes. Yes, I can teach you.”
When we ask God to teach us, I believe that it brings Him joy. May we have the maturity to stop, listen to Him, and learn.
If we ask God, “Lord, can you teach me how to be rich?” I am not sure that is what God is looking for. God wants to teach us what He is passionate about: how to be holy, how to love people, and how to love Him.
When we ask questions like “Father, can you teach me how to love You? How to study the Bible? How to lead people in a better way?” I believe God will honor our requests.
As a leader, what do you need God to show you and team?
Can you spend time with me?
Danny’s question, “Babi, can you play with me?” communicates that he wants me to show him love and attention and to simply be with him. This question definitely tugs at my heart. I made a commitment to myself that every time Danny asks that question, I will stop and play with him at least for a few minutes.
Do we ask God to simply spend time with us? God is everywhere, true, but we must stop, block the outside world, and simply be with Him—in meditation, reading of scripture, and prayer.
It all rests on our priorities. Where do you prioritize knowing, hearing, and following God? Make it high. Otherwise, life is not worth it, regardless of where your leadership and skills take you.