The little things in life; where did my childlike wonder go? – 19/28

https://nathanaelvitkus.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/littlekidtoyboxfort1991spartanburgsouthcarolina.jpg?w=300
(not me, but I did like playing in boxes when I was little)

When I think about where I am now, the “little things” are as follows; drinking French Press coffee, sleeping in, spending time with my little nieces and nephew, driving through the country, taking time to photograph, taking time to read, taking time to be… But even now, some of the “little things” in my life are way more complicated than what were the “little things” when I was young.

When I was young the little things were playing in a box, catching fireflies, watching the sky for shooting stars, playing with my sisters and possibly annoying them all the while. Those little things didn’t require much, just time, friends, and family.

One thing that crosses my mind as a follower of Christ is what Christ said about following him in Matthew 18:3 – and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The way to get to know God is a simple way, not a simplistic way, it is one holding on to the Father’s hand even if the grasp is a mere pinkie, it’s about faith and doubt and being unsure of where it is all going…where life is going, and taking what he said by faith and bound up religious dogma, making following him a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts.
So much of Jesus’ ministry when he was alive on earth was to the poor, the weak, the marginalized, the downtrodden…and also, to children! He went so far as to rebuke his disciples when children gathered to spend time with him, and in that day and age that’s rather astounding.

So when I examine the little things in life both past and present, I realize that while so much has changed I still can find ways to live a more simple life. It’s the Lenten season for followers of Christ, and while some might be all about giving up something, I recognize that if I am going to do that it must be something that lasts longer than Lent. I’m still not sure how I fully approach a more simple lifestyle, the big one that comes to mind is living in excess, living with more this and that, when I really don’t need more material possessions in my life.
The little things in life help me recall who I was and who I am, but also who I want to be. I don’t live in self-imposed guilt for having too much, but it does weigh upon my soul when I see and interact with people who have less than me. so it begins with change and figuring out what I can to approach life by way of the little things, but also to approach God as a child in innocence and awe of a God who is bigger and better than I couldn’t have ever imagined.

~Nathanael~

Becoming a Christian is the easiest thing to do*

*but for the one who chooses to follow Christ, it gets dramatically more difficult…

In my younger years, I wore a shirt that said this:

It amused some, and irked others and being in a Roman Catholic neighborhood where the school is up the block and the church is a block behind me, and one neighbor flies the Vatican/Papal flag off his front porch…needless to say it got people talking.
Some people took it literally; “why yes I wear a cross around my neck, its encrusted with diamonds and is 22k gold”
Some people were confrontational; “what do you mean by that? What are you saying about me?”

***

Becoming a Christian, whether you think its wrapped up in a prayer or just an audible confession to God to save you because He alone can save…I won’t mess with that, even tho I think the Western church has tidied up the package and have reduced it to a “say the prayer, get out of Hell” card.
But from there on out, if you choose to be a follower of Christ, if you choose to read the Bible especially the parts written in red…it’s the most difficult thing you can do.

Commands to love your enemies, to pray for those persecute you, to take care of the hungry/orphans/widows/naked/imprisoned, to recognize that wealth is fleeting and it’s not all that important…for starters.
So I ask you the reader, you who align with being a Christian and perhaps being a follower of Christ, does the cross you choose to wear look like

or

Is it something that takes all your energy to carry it, do you struggle, is there a pull for you to die to yourself and live as Christ did?

Wearing His cross will ruin your life, the Gospel message (unlike what K-Love sells via radio) is not family friendly, it will devastate you and utterly ruin any idea of living a normal life, and some will still face death by those who persecute followers of Christ…but here’s what it can do.
It can change the hearts of individuals, and since everyone has a heart (no matter how dark or hard it is, everyone has one) it can lead to change on a large and sometimes governmental level. It can bring restoration and reconciliation between others, it can make people who have hated each other good friends, it brings life to those who have been dead and so much more!

For those skeptics who are burned or have been burned by Christians and have tainted the Gospel message as a result, I’m sorry. I’m there too even if I’m on the inside. My apologies might seem shallow, and if you want to talk about it feel free to message me…

In closing, I want to say that if you choose to take the road of following Christ it will cost you everything and your identity will no longer be your own. You must die to yourself so that Christ can live through you. It is an adventure that doesn’t end, it is a journey with many twists and turns, it is the most demanding thing anyone can do…but the dividends that you might not see now you will see someday.

~Nathanael~