We officially have a one-year-old on our hands, and I have to admit, this stage is F-U-N.
Sure, there’s still nap struggles and defiance in the face of vegetables and blowouts. It’s a “nose goes” game anytime we hear the rumble. But at this age, there’s an unquenchable curiosity, a little mimicking, that’s just downright amusing.
We clap, she claps. We scream, she screams. We laugh, she fake laughs back. I moo like a cow; Mabel moos like a cow back. Every day, we play this game of back-and-forth.
She’s just our little imitator. Our baby copycat. Our sweet mimic. And because of this, never before has Ephesians 5:1 made so much sense: “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.”
Children imitate their parents. And it doesn’t stop at one-year-old's with duplicating laughter and silly mooing. The more years of experience, the more watching and witnessing under their belts; kids start to act, talk like, and resemble their parents.
I speed and maneuver a car like my dad, because I was his passenger for years and years. I wash our clothes with Tide powder detergent because that’s what my mom uses. I say extremes like “best ever” thanks to my dad and “are you telling us a story?” anytime a baby talks because that’s what my mom says, and I understand the importance of tithing because that’s how I was raised.
Children imitate their parents. But I’m talking beyond human dads and mortal moms too. The moment we become a Christ-follower, we are considered a child of God, which means we have a heavenly Father. He calls us His own, and every day, we have a choice. Who will we imitate? What are we mimicking? How are we copying?
Are we following the patterns of our God, our Father, or are we falling into the ways of this world? Living a life of love or of lust? Sacrificing for others or living for our own ambitions? Taking a posture of thankfulness or coveting every next big thing?
As Mabel mirrors my sounds, faces, and expressions today, I want to play the game of back-and-forth, copycat, and parroting with my Father. I want to live a life of love, bask in His light, give thankfulness to God, and make the most of every opportunity.
And not just for my own life, my own reasons, my own soul. But because I know I have an imitator on my hands, who watches me very closely and probably won’t let up in the next 18 years either. In fact, we all have imitators on our hands beyond kids: friends watching us, co-workers noticing what we do, neighbors curious of our lifestyle. And in these relationships and through our actions and imitations, we have a very real opportunity to generate a ripple effect for our distinct, radiant, bright Father.
Because that’s what life is all about: Imitate God in everything we do, and spread the saving message of His Gospel.
Who are you imitating today?