“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
I recently read a book that encourages us to unlearn the patterns we have established as adults – things like being self-sufficient, educated, busy, apathetic and private. The book is Growing Down by Michael Kelley, and it includes some fascinating points that fit within the idea of Proverbs 3:5-6 – rely on God and not on yourself.
Kelley’s main argument is that we become adults when we learn to be self-sufficient, and it is this self-sufficiency that runs counter to what Jesus asks of us – to come to him as little children who rely on him, wonder at him, rest in him, trust him, and let our real selves be known to him and to others.
There’s no doubt that adulthood changes us from carefree kids to burdened adults with worries and disappointments that we accumulate over time. But Jesus calls us to lay our burdens down at his feet, rest in him and trust him (Matthew 11:29-30), which comes more easily when we have those childlike qualities of dependence, excitement about everything, and a carefree attitude that does not worry about what others think of us.
Proverbs 3:5 says we are to trust God with our whole heart, and to do that we must clean the clutter from our heart and make it singularly focused on him, which brings us back to complete trust and dependence on God.
Do you trust God with your whole heart? Or is your heart divided by other things in your life? Have you laid your burdens down, or do you continue to carry them with you over the miles and years? These are questions that came to my mind after I read Kelley’s book.
I really enjoyed Growing Down and found the points thought-provoking and relatable. Kelley covers several practical areas of life where we can apply the changes he suggests, such as moving from self-reliance to dependence, complexity to simplicity and apathy to passion. I particularly enjoyed the examples he used from his own life to illustrate some of his points. Kelley has a great sense of humor, and if you are a parent you will particularly enjoy his stories.
While I was intrigued by most of his points, especially those in the chapters on self-consciousness to innocence and education to wonder, I think there are points in other chapters, especially the one on busyness to rest that I’m not sure I agree with. He supports his points with Scripture but I think there are places where his points can be clarified and strengthened. Regardless, this is a great book to inspire you to consider whether you have a childlike faith and how you can grow down to attain it and grow up in Christ.