Maturing in Faith: Childish vs. Childlike Faith

the difference between childish and childlike faith

I frequently contemplate the gift of genuine faith, and how it is the foundation of our lives. Yet, so many things yield to mold our faith. For example, different virtues aid in shaping our intrinsic character, the Sacraments help to build and sustain our faith, and even the trials and suffering we face can greatly impact our faith and trust in God.

Maturing Faith as a College Student

This year, I finished my first semester of college. I can attest that this transitional time in my life produced a very special personal transformation through the grace of God.

I attended a private Catholic all-girl high school and held an executive position for my school’s Campus Ministry. The transition from Catholic high school to Catholic university gave me the comfort of being surrounded by people who understood and practiced the same Faith. Sure enough, God opened my narrow mind and walked me through my transformation of childish faith to the childlike faith He calls us to in the Gospels.

In my first semester as a college student, I’ve learned three important things about maturing my faith.

1. Be transparent to find friends who foster your best self.

My mom always told me, “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”

Naturally, we all surround ourselves with friends who share the same interests, hobbies, and perspectives. More often than not, we find ourselves in our own friends. However, I will be the first to admit that college made me feel overwhelmingly small, just like a small drop of water in the vast ocean. I had trouble finding honest friendships. I was afraid people would label me as a “Jesus freak” or a “goody goody” if I told them I was a practicing, faithful Catholic. So I tucked my faith away for a little while until I finally found friends who shared the same love for God.

Because of my internal friction and dishonesty with myself, I attracted and welcomed the wrong kinds of friends. The more time I spent making new “friends,” the less time I spent seeking communion with God. In this instance, my childish faith got the better of me and hid away my passionate love for God. My immature faith made me deny myself, and as a result, made me deny God. I felt publicly ashamed to make the Sign of the Cross before meals or to walk to the chapel before Mass in fear of being seen by my peers.

Knowing Myself in Him

During this time of hiding from God, I felt the roaring chaos knocking on the door of heart. I felt empty, and began to fill this void with unfulling vices, toxic friendships, and superficial facades. I felt unworthy of prayer, love, and salvation from God because I sought my own self-glory.

But God is so merciful and loyal that He made the first move, again, to invite me into His embrace. Through a Saint Paul’s Outreach missionary from my college’s Campus Ministry, I found joy in the Lord again. This missionary filled my heart with Truth and healed it with love through the Lord. I was reminded to be bold for Christ and to reclaim my identity as God’s beloved daughter.

I felt like my cup was full—overflowing even—with God’s graces because of this reconnection with God. With the help of this missionary, I joined a women’s small group and have made honest friends who help foster a true childlike faith in me.

2. Seek the efficacious graces of the Sacraments and the stillness of Adoration.

It wasn’t until college that I really felt a calling to the Sacraments and to Adoration, which helped nurture my childlike faith. The Sacraments are the visible and tangible signs of God’s invisible reality. They institute a personal encounter with the Holy Trinity. Every time we willingly participate in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, we become witnesses and recipients of these effective graces from God.

During Adoration, it took me a while to adjust to the lack of sound and movement. In a hedonistic and instantaneous world, Adoration made me uncomfortable. I was itching to mindlessly scroll through my social media feeds or make mental lists of the things I needed to accomplish. My mind was always so preoccupied with my busy schedule or the loudness of the world that I forgot what quietness sounded like. I had to train my ears to listen in Adoration, not for the next sound I’ll hear, but for the voice of Jesus Christ.

Adoration is a time where you can simply be in awe of the King of Heaven and Earth, where you can literally adore the God who is humbly veiled as bread. In Adoration, your soul can rest in the abundance of God’s love.

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3. Find communion with God in your suffering.

Have you ever thought about how human suffering can bring communion with others? Countries affected by natural disasters have been given money and food donations from all over the world. Even families touched by cancer have brought them closer together. Our compassionate human hearts move us to empathize with those in pain. Imagine how God’s merciful Heart moves when we invite Him into our sorrow.

Through my own pains and suffering, God wants to reverse my childish faith and transform it into a childlike faith. He asks me to surrender my pride and control to Him, and to invite Him into the chaos of my life. Most importantly, He wants to be a Father to me.

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God wants us to feel the overwhelming happiness, joy, and love in the Eternal Paradise with Him.  However, in order for us to obtain a heavenly birth, we must submit ourselves to God’s will with complete obedience and trust in Him. This childlike faith is the key which unlocks the Gates of Heaven to us, just like God promises.

What are some ways you seek to be become more mature and childlike in your faith?

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Isabella Somera, commonly known as Issa, is a college student discovering the compatibility of science and religion through her studies. She seeks to live a life of humble gratitude and Truth, and shares her life reflections on her Instagram accounts (here and here). Her love of puns, dogs, food, family, friends, and faith are the joys of her life gifted to her by the Lord!

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