I had dinner with my family last week, and as I was talking to my sister in law, she mentioned that my niece has learned to shake her head to indicate how much she doesn’t want to do something. She’s only 9 months old and she can already say ‘no’. But what is more curious to me is that when my niece does this, my brother says, ‘No? No?! What do you mean no?!’ I witnessed it, and it’s pretty funny.
What surprises me is that I do the same thing with kids whenever I babysit or teach kids church. Now is that nature or nurture?!
When I was a kid, I don’t remember the word ‘no’ factoring into my life very much. This is hardly to say that my parents never disciplined us, but more to say that I was encouraged to imagine possibilities and not let silly old reality get in the way. I did attend a Montessori School in my early years and I’m certain that this is at least partly a product of that time too. I’m a classic Montessori child. My dreams about the future are limited only by my imagination. My creativity is limited by the same. There’s something beautiful in this. Opportunities are limitless. In some ways I have loved growing up in a home marked by such freedoms.
But reality isn’t like that. In reality I am limited by more than my imagination. Physically, my body needs sleep. Mentally, my mind needs time to switch off. This is most often accomplished by staring at the wall. Emotionally, I need deep friendships and time away from those friendships. It is simply not possible for me to do everything I’d like to. This is perhaps, one of the most regrettable facts ever.
Either way, be it by my own imagination or by reality, I am limited.
I have always been both puzzled and comforted by this verse in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
He is not limited by a weak body as I am. He does not need time out from people as I do. He is not even limited by his imagination, as I am. I have such an extreme imagination that it seems weird to me that God could do more than what I can dream up. But he can not only do more, he can do immeasurably more. My mind boggles.
God is even more Montessori than I am!