If I could Write a Message to Young Girls...

Monday, January 20

This past weekend I got to experience discipling and leading young seventh and eighth grade girls for a weekend retreat with my church, Church Project. Although I am usually surrounded by eight year-olds and involved with elementary age kids, I was asked to lead these group of girls for a weekend to teach them about the beauty of following the Lord (and how to do that).

Never in a million years did I think it would be as difficult as it was. Not difficult in a sense that I felt unable to relate, or had difficulties talking to them, or whatever else could have come with unexpected difficulties. It was difficult in the sense that my heart broke for these girls in a way I have never experienced it breaking before.

Within many blog posts and discussions I have talked about the deep pain that has been brought on to young girls and even women in our society, but I have never experienced feeling my heart rip for them and having a firsthand image of what it is truly like. Although I was thirteen at a whopping five years ago (it's crazy it's only been five years) I was painfully reminded of the utter hardships girls, as young as twelve, are having to experience in their schools, their families, their peer groups, and even in public; the standards, the influences, the unattainable images, the altered definition of 'beauty' as our culture will define it today, the pressure. All of these things that a young girl in seventh grade should not even be thinking of worrying about, yet they're experiencing it on a daily basis.

My heart ached for them as I witnessed them worry about the constant pressure of self-image, and not a self-image and identity rooted in Christ, but a self-image based on a comparable worth of the most 'popular' girl in school or the 'hottest' young star. I watched them yearn for attention from boys, more than they yearned for attention from their Savior; this attention that culture has defined as a social norm for girls to slave at their heels for a young boy's approval and like. I watched them struggle with their appearance, their talents, their knowledge, their beauty. I almost felt myself asking the same question God asked Adam and Eve as they shamefully hid from their Lord in the garden,

"Who told you that you were naked?"

"Girls, who told you that you aren't skinny?" "Who told you beauty is in the perfection of hair, body, and approval?" "Who told you a boy won't like you for knowledge and strength and dignity?" "Who lied to you and said you were so unworthy?"

I cannot fathom words to describe the utter pain I felt for these young girls struggling for identity, for acceptance, for happiness that is nothing close to eternal. I found myself asking the Lord, Show them, Lord. Show them beauty and identity is not measured by their peer group, by acceptance, by boys, or by whatever else society may lie to them about. Show them beauty is the condition of the heart, the extent of their love, the joy of their spirit.

Girls, If I could write a message to you...

Protect your heart, for their lies the wellspring of life.

Cherish your flaws. For once you can love yourself for your brokenness, you can love others for their brokenness.

Find your identity and worth in the Lord. For you were created by Him, and no person, thing, or idea can make you any less worthy than your Creator created you to be.

Boys and relationships will fail you. There is no perfect boy who will treat you like some fairy-tale. Remember that boys are broken because they are human. The only true, unending, unfailing relationship is the one with your heavenly Father.

Physical 'beauty' is fleeting. It does not last, so make your heart beautiful, your Spirit beautiful, in tune with the image of Christ. Your body will once fade and wither, but your spirit is what is eternal.

You will face rejection and persecution. Rejection and persecution is not inevitable, not now and not later. Even Jesus was persecuted by those He came to die for. He was rejected by those that proclaimed him as Lord, and He still is. "God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs." - (Matt. 5:10)

There is nothing greater than the participation in the Kingdom. I know fitting in, acceptance, and popularity have become the constant pressure on teens and even adults. But there is no greater reward than being a part of the Lord's glorious mission; to serve others, to build others up, and to be an active doer and follower of the Gospel.

And most of all, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, all your strength, and all your soul. With this all things will follow.


SIMPLE GROUNDS All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger