I'll see you right here tomorrow, Mini-Women!
Hey, Mini-Women. Today at my house S stands for sick. When I'm better next week -- and I SO will be -- we'll go back to talking about why we need to be radical to know God is close. But I knew you'd want to get started on the next letter, so go ahead and post your comment completing THIS statement:
To really know that God is closer to me than anybody else can get, I need to be S________________________________.
Gooood morning, Mini-Women! Can I just say that ASHER was absolutely right in her comment, when she said "quintessential" means a brilliant, ultimate list? SARA has given us a visual of that list, and OLIVIA named ALL of the qualities-so-far we need to at least try to have so we can know just how close God really is. As KAYLEE put it in HER mini-woman's definition of "quintessential": it means REPRESENTING the most perfect example of our Lord Christ.
That's you, mini-women. That is SO you.
Seriously, what other group of tween girls comes up with a list like this for what R means in God-seeking:
READING the Bible
RESPONSIVE to God’s answers
RELIABLE for others in need
RESPECTFUL of God’s word
RELYING on God
READY to RECEIVE
Having a RELATIONSHIP with God
REALLY loving people
Even if we simply TRY to be all those things, we'll ROCK in God's eyes. We'll sense God's presence. We'll feel the nudges. We'll know who we are.
If you're just joining us, let us know and one of the mini-women will explain to you what a TTGJ is.
As we move toward the end of our alphabet of close-to-God qualities, keep asking God in your journal to show you HOW to practice the R-words (and the others as well). Ask for God's help in NOT being the opposite of RESPONSIVE and RECEIVING and REAL. We're all in this together, yet even as a group we can't get there without God. I mean, RIGHT?
Now, about the R-word I had in mind. Yours are all RIGHT on, and I hope you keep pondering and practicing them. This is just about the first time, though, that my word was completely different from any you suggested. Maybe that's because to think of it, you'd have to BE it. My word is --
Instead of explaining why that word came to me, I'm going to let YOU give it a go and and tell us (after maybe writing in your Talking To God Journal) why YOU think we need to RADICAL when it comes to moving closer to God.
This is going to take some serious pondering so I'll give you a hint: Jesus was and still is RADICAL. If you lived the way he did and thought that way, wouldn't you be radical too?
Praying for you as you ponder, Mini-Women.
Helloooo, Mini-Women! You did so well with the P-words (that make you realize, yikes, God is right here!), you inspired ASHER. Instead of doing a word picture with just her P-choices, she used all of YOURS to come up with the PRETTY great collage you see here. Give a shout out to Asher!
While you're PONDERING that, it's time to talk about what you thought Q stood for. This one MUST have been hard because our list is QUITE small this time. The ones you came up with were QUIVERING with energy, though:
Quenching my thirst for God
Yep, that's the QUINTESSENTIAL list (does somebody want to look that up and give us a mini-woman definition?)
We do need to be questioning the things we don't understand about God and our faith and our church and how we're supposed to live a Jesus life. If you don't ask questions, you're not gonna get answers. Doubt is part of our faith journey.
As for quenching our thirst for God ... well, ye-ah. Being thirsty for God in the first place is a good thing. Mostly, if you're not thirsty, you don't drink, right? We definitely need to be drinking God in.
Qualified works too, as long as we don't think of ourselves as having to be "qualified" and perfect and good and angelic before we can turn to God our in TTG journals. Um, if we were perfect, why would we NEED God? I think being qualified in this case means knowing we do need God. That's all that's required.
Quiet was the Q-word I chose and so did most of you. It's pretty clear we need to get still and silent before God so we can hear. Except ... the only thing harder than finding Q words is BEING this one! As one of you said so honestly, "I talk too much!" Even when we pray, a lot of times we're giving God the whole backstory on a situation God already knows about, and we never get to the part where we say, "Help!" The harder it is for us jabber-jaws (myself included!) to be quiet, the more we need to be.
So, during one of your periods of QUIET over the weekend, PONDER this, will you? What R-word do you need to be in order to know that God is there with something to tell you in your quiet pondering. Just fill in this blank (with as many words as you want as long as you don't use the dictionary or thesaurus).
If I'm going to know God is right here with me, I need to be R___________.
Can't wait to see how the R list develops!
This is what YOU being OPPOSITE looks like:
In our opposition attitude, we’re going to be super nice to new kids at school and activities. We’re going to tell the truth when other people are lying all over the place. You’ll see us bringing people up when other kids are tearing them down. You’ll know us because we’re the ones being authentic instead of fake. We’ll be so obvious because we’ll be patient with little kids and with what God tells us to do. Short tempers will be cooled off. You won’t hear us cussing or being inappropriate – we’ll be creative and joyful. If we tend to talk too much, we’ll journal some of that stuff instead, and of course listen more to what other people have to say (what a concept!) – you know, private with our thoughts, public about our faith. We mini-women? We’ll be dwelling on the positive instead of the negative, and thinking before we blurt something out, especially those of us who talk too fast for our brains to catch up. Count on us to be funny, but not at the expense of other people’s feelings. When in doubt, we’ll choose “nice” over “hilarious”.
And you're just going to keep getting better and better as you move closer and closer to God ... because now you've added more qualities for the close-to-God Mini-Woman to develop. Here's what you said when it comes to the P-traits.
Practicing what we preach (in fact, practicing MORE than preaching)
Prepared for the future
Predictable (if it's the right thing to do, people can predict we'll be doing it)
Painting godly images in our minds
The P-word I had in mind is one of MaryBeth's choices too. Ready? Drum roll please ...
Mary, Jesus's mother, did a lot of pondering when he was a baby ... you can check that out in the Gospel of Luke. The first thing I'd love for you to do this week is come up with a definition of "pondering" in your own Mini-Woman words and give us an example of something you need to ponder or would like to.
THEN, complete this sentence, following the usual rules:
If I am going to totally know that God is right HERE, I need to be Q___________________ .
Meanwhile, I'll be pondering our next topic, after we finish our Close To God Alphabet. I already know what it is ... tee-hee!
You've also done a good job of showing what "being opposite" looks like when you're getting closer to the God who is always standing right there beside you. Look at this awesome list:
Joyful vs. grumpy
Obedient vs. rebellious
Kind vs. sarcastic
Appropriate vs. (well …) inappropriate
Pure vs. nasty
Welcoming vs. snobby
Honest vs. lying
Uplifting vs. putting down
Authentic vs. fake
Can you even IMAGINE what your world would be like if everybody stayed in the left column and refused to be in the right hand one? Makes you realize that although the qualities on the left might not make you "cool", who WANTS to be all that stuff on the right?
Seriously, is being part of the "in" group worth going around:
GRUMPY, REBELLIOUS, SARCASTIC, INAPPROPRIATE, NASTY, SNOBBY, DISHONEST, FAKE AND A DOWNER?
Yeah, as Lily would say, "Gross me out and make me icky," or as Fiona (from Sophie) would put it, "That is just HEINOUS."
Knowing how to be the right kind of opposite and having this picture of the person who is:
JOYFUL, OBEDIENT, KIND, APPROPRIATE, PURE, WELCOMING, HONEST, UPLIFTING AND AUTHENTIC
is like having a diagram to follow! Okay, no, it isn't easy when everybody else is acting all grown-up (even though they're 12 years old ... what's that about?) and making jokes that only certain people think are funny (they're not) and putting other kids down so they'll look superior and basically acting like somebody they're so not.
So, who do you want to be like? The cool kids who are trying to be negative nineteen year olds? Or the daughter of God? The choice is obvious, but carrying it out isn't a piece of cake. The first time you stay quiet and do your work when the teacher leaves the room and everybody else starts throwing dry erase markers and going through her desk drawers, you're going to feel left out.
But do you really want to belong with THOSE people?
It isn't going to work to just memorize that list and make up your mind to be all those things. Here's what DOES work (I know this from experience):
(1) Talk to God about it in your Talking to God Journal. Tell God how hard it is. Where you're having the most trouble being the good kind of opposite. Who makes it hard. How you need God to guide you through it and onto the opposite side.
(2) Choose one way to practice change. This is what I'm doing ...
I've realized that complaining about my problems is sort of an addiction. The more I do it, well, the more I do it! I'm asking God to help me stop when I'm about to go on and on (and did I mention on?) about stuff that's bothering me AND to help me talk about my JOYS instead.
I'm about to Skype with a fellow writer I haven't seen for a long time. I'm not going to get started about my foot and my dog's weight problem and ... well, you get it. Instead, I'm going to tell her about the cute things Maeryn has said lately, and how much fun I'm having working on a new book and helping other writers with theirs and how happy I am that fall is here in Tennessee. I'll definitely tell her about what we're doing here on Tween You and Me and how amazing you all are.
SO ... if you want to post a comment, tell us two things (you can do them in separate comments if you want to):
(1) (After you've written in your TTGJ) what is one practical thing you can do to practice that opposite you have the most trouble with.
(2) What do you think P stands for? Just fill in this blank, following the usual guidelines (as many as you want, no thesaurus):
If I want to get how close God is, I need to be P___________.
Nancy Rue (who thinks you're PRETTY special)
Probably the only one that really needs explaining is that last one? Onomatopoeia is the term for words that sound like what they mean. Like "hush" or "buzz" or, in this case "Hallelujah", which I'm starting to say more often.
ALL of those O words describe what we need to be to know that God is as close as our next breath. Great job, ladies. And by the way, I love how you tell each other how much you like one another's posts and word choices. That's what makes our blog community work, right?
The word I chose might puzzle you at first, but here it is:
I didn't pick it because I think we need to say no every time someone says yes. I know some Christians like that, who are negative about absolutely everything. That's not what I'm saying. At all.
This kind of OPPOSITE means that sometimes we have to be the opposite of what God-ignoring people say is okay. Maybe some examples will help.
GOD IGNORERS YOU
laugh AT people laugh WITH people
EXclude the "different ones" INclude the "different"
find something WRONG find something RIGHT
know what they're AGAINST know what you're FOR
See where I'm going with this? We don't ALWAYS have to do the exact opposite of what everyone else in our world is doing (the ones who don't think that much about God). It's okay to wear cute jeans and listen to good music that isn't straight-up Christian. But sometimes it's important for us to go in the total opposite direction.
No matter what.
So between now and Friday (September 18) will you think of three (3) ways you are or could be or do the OPPOSITE of what most people accept? These could be anything from not cheating when everyone else is getting away with it, to not dissing that girl other kids are whispering about. Share with us, will ya?
I first want to thank ASHER for sharing her decorated N words. Is she awesome, or what? Anyone who wants to do this and take a pic and send it to me by email, please do that little thing. This is YOUR blog and it needs YOUR touch!
LOTS of mini-women responded to my question: what is the biggest way you need God right now? Here's what you said in your comments:
I don't think there's any part of life you DIDN'T mention as a thing you need God for. You know what that says? It says we need God for EVERYTHING!
It's not only okay, it's IMPORTANT to be needy with God -- to admit we can't make it without God -- to go to God begging. If we're needy with God, God will show us what to do, what the next right step is. God will give us strength and patience and relief. God's saying, "All I ask of you is to know that without me, you can't be you."
So keep going to God in your Talking To God journal (JOSIE, this is a picture of NOELLE'S journal, which she bought, and a picture of REBEKAH'S which she made herself. Hopefully that will help you see what we're talking about when we speak of the TTGJ.) Keep saying, "God I need you on
this" and God'll be there. He always is.
Of COURSE, our next question is -- WHAT DOES THE LETTER 'O' STAND FOR when it comes to knowing God is close?
This could be a tough one, but I know you're up for it. Just remember:
* Post as many words that start with O as you want, as long as they fill this blank --
To know God is close, I need to be O____________.
* Have fun!
Just a few reminders:
* Mostly we just talk about the questions in red on the post. If we start chatting with each other off topic, well, funky stuff sometimes happens.
*If you have an idea for a new topic, that's awesome! Just email me privately and I'll put it on my list. THEN, when I post about it and ask the question in red, you can help each other.
* Sometimes I have to skip a post because I'm away or something comes up. You can always depend on me coming back though. Always.
Now then, on to what the letter N stands for! We're now halfway through our alphabet, so you're getting really, really good at finding words that describe or relate to how we need to be so that we know God is close. Here's your list:
That's the best list ever. The only N-word missing is the one I picked out, which is (drum roll, please!) ...
Yeah, that needs some explaining!
When we think of "needy," we think of a couple of things that AREN'T what I mean here:
(1) A friend who we describe as "needy" is sort of clingy, maybe like Velcro ... always needs you to tell her that you're her BFF, that you aren't mad at her, that she's wonderful. We like to do that with our friends but when it's like an hourly requirement we want to say, "For Pete's sake, enough already!"
(2) We often hear about feeding and clothing the needy -- the poor -- the homeless, which we should absolutely do. Jesus says it about 50 times in the Gospels!
No, I'm not saying be all needy and clingy and clone-like with your friends or make being penniless a goal! What I AM saying is, NEED GOD.
All the time. In everything. We have to KNOW that without God we're pretty much nothing. There is no other being on earth we should have to say that about. It's not good to feel like a nobody if you don't have a certain friend or the right stuff in your backpack. It IS good to know that ya gotta have God in your life or YOU WON'T BE WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE.
So let's everybody do this:
* In your Talking To God Journal, write out for God all the ways you need God. Detailed ways. Not just, "I need you for life" or "I need you to forgive all the stupid stuff I do." Write things like, "I need you to show me how to treat my little brother better because I can't do it on my own no matter how hard I try." And, "I need you to forgive me for pretending to do my schoolwork on the computer when I'm really playing a game."
* If you want to comment on this post tell us (ONLY THIS!) the biggest way you need God right now -- maybe the thing you write the most about in your TTGJ. Me? I need God to help my fungus-foot to heal (it's really ugly and itchy and gross!) so I can focus more on joy than scratching.
See you again Friday, my God-needy Mini-Women!
Meanwhile, let's take a look at the Letter N.
What do you think you need to be in order to get that God is NEAR? NEXT to you? NO farther away than a thought?
It's just a matter of filling in the blank:
"If I want to know for sure that God is close and real, I need to be N ___________________."
HINT: The N-word I have in mind doesn't rhyme with "ice."
Some other "rules" for this one:
1. Give as many N-words as you can think of without using the dictionary
2. It's okay to brainstorm with somebody, especially your mom. I love that KAYLEE did that. It makes moms feel NEEDED -- which they totally are.
3. If you want to decorate one or more of your words -- like NIMI and ASHER did for the letter M -- and take a pic and email it to me, I'll include it in next Tuesday's post (September 1)
I'll be thinking about you while I'm away. Always do.