Adrian is 8. I met him at a friend’s Christmas party. My friend invited her extended family over to her house for a massive spread of food, some off-key carolling and games. Adrian is my friend’s nephew. He is a curly-haired, bright-eyed, articulate boy with a lively imagination, who loves to create his own games.
At the party, I was one of two adults on child-minding duty.
While the other adults chatted, played board games and nibbled fruit cake between sips of sorrel rum punch, I was tasked with watching over a precocious 6 year old girl, an energetic 4 year old boy, a toddler (who insisted on running away at every opportunity) and Adrian. After playing one of Adrian’s games (the kids had to find “weapons” – toy swords and trucks - hidden strategically in the yard, with their eyes closed), the little girl, Kate, suggested we play musical chairs.
“I’m not playing” Adrian said. In protest, he took a seat on a huge blue toy car while Kate lined up the chairs and Uncle PJ, the other designated child-watcher, searched for kid-friendly music on his cell phone.
When I asked him why, he responded, matter-of-factly:
“I have a history with musical chairs.”
“A history?!” I barely stifled a laugh. It was incredible to me that an 8 year old could build up a history with anything (and be smart enough to use the term “history” in context).
“Yes. Whenever I play,” he explained, “I’m out the first round. I’m no good at that game. I’m not playing.” He folded his arms across his chest and pouted.
“Adrian, you’re waaaaayyyy too young to write off doing anything because of “history.” You’re going to try. Your history can be rewritten. Do you hear me?” I searched his face for any hint of understanding and acceptance. He barely nodded.
With some more coaxing he joined in.
I played the game too and made sure in the first round, I was slow in moving towards the last chair. Adrian breezed past to claim it.
Smiling up at me from his seat, he said, “Maybe I’m not so bad at this after all.”
I later thought how we adults decide we are no good at something so we never attempt it anymore. Maybe it is finding love in a romantic relationship…career advancement or promotion…creating a business from a hobby...relocating to take up a new opportunity…or starting a family. For some reason, after a few “bad breaks”, we conclude (with finality) that we are hopelessly doomed to failure.
I’m horrible at babysitting. I just don’t connect with kids under age 10, or so I thought, until that party. I had a great time playing with those children on the lawn of my friend’s house. It was fun (but exhausting too). But had I listened to my fear I would have missed out on a great afternoon and an important lesson.
God looks at us and thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous that we think we can’t do what He has asked us to do. He knows better than we do. He’s been around longer than time (which He created) and He is wise enough to know more than you. Our lifespan is barely a blip on the spectrum of infinity. He also knows the Holy Spirit He placed inside you. He wants us to attempt great things.
Just before going to the party I’d had a conversation with my pastor about the intense disappointment I felt about a dream that has not materialised. I also told my friend’s dad, a reverend, the same thing at the party just before I started playing with the kids.
And the dots didn’t connect until just now (while writing this) that I am just like Adrian. The difference is I am old enough to know better.
God said you can do all things through Christ (Philippians chapter 4 verse 13). He said everything is possible for those who believe (Mark chapter 9 verse 23). God can do more than we can request or dream of (Ephesians chapter 3 verses 20-21). With faith, we can cast mountains into the sea (Mark chapter 11 verse 23)
Why then do we rely on our history?
Do you, like Adrian, get uncomfortable when you can no longer dictate the game? If you have to play by the rules of another (God’s rules) do you get scared?
What are your “musical chairs” that thing you said you would never try again?
My message to you is simply this: it’s not too late to rewrite history.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. This year, she is committed to believing for bigger things.
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