As I reported a couple of weeks ago, listening to a four-year-old’s response to the issue of death is often hilarious. Since two of his beloved great-grandmas have passed away in the last few months, he has been “playing out” this concept in some rather unusual ways.
A picture of a man resting on his back under the clouds prompted the question, “Mommy, is that man dead?”
His toys, whom he talks for, are often heard discussing the issue. It goes something like this…
Giraffe: Come on Monkey, get your coat on. We’re going to the store.
Monkey: Not now; I’m being dead. Maybe after our nap.
I thought he was figuring the concept out. Until a recent game of charades. It was Josiah’s turn to act out his clue for his brothers and sisters. He was as flopping down on his stomach and then quickly jumping up to his feet. “Hippo!” someone shouted. “No,” he said. “Frog!” another tried. “No,” he said. “Kangaroo!” “No!!” He was beginning to get frustrated.
Finally, he looked up and announced, “I am a dead lion trying to jump up!!”
As laughter filled the room, they gave him another chance.
This time he tried acting out something squirming around on the floor. A very strange wiggly look that no one could figure out.
“What is it Siah?” they asked.
“It’s a dead crocodile!” he said snickering with laughter. “But when it was being dead, it couldn’t even swim right!”
Maybe Josiah’s “developmental immaturity” is somewhat similar to one of mine. In Romans 6:11, Paul exhorts us, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So if God says I am dead to sin why am I “pretending” like sin is alive and reigning over me?
Some of my self-conversations sound like Josiah’s talking between his animals! “You mean old Lisa, just be nice, would you! Talking like that to your own kids. How could you be such a bad mom! …You are always such a glutton. Loving your food, Lisa, more than you even love your God! Just stop it, would you!?”
Instead of reasoning with my old dead self, I find much more progress when I let the dead Lisa stay dead, and focus on my new life in Jesus Christ. “Lisa, you are a new creation. You can do the hard things because you have the fruit of self-control. Lisa, the joy of the Lord is going to give you the strength today to handle whatever disagreeable thing your children dish out!”
Maybe I will take a lesson this week from Josiah.
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