Goooood morning, Mini-Women! And welcome newest member of Tween You and Me ...THIRZAH. We hope you're going to enjoy being here as much as we already love having you. Thanks for jumping right in and commenting.
Before we talk about what our next alphabet word is, I want to do something I've never done on Tween You and Me and that is recommend a movie. If you haven't seen the new Pixar film Inside Out, I hope you can. It. Is. Brilliant. It's made with you in mind and it explains so much about the confusing emotions you feel at this point in your life. Truly wonderful. Wish we could all go see it together and share buckets of popcorn and talk about it over pizza afterwards.
Now, onto the Letter F and what it stands for in the world of mini-women getting closer and closer to God. You said that for that to happen, we need to be:
Faithful/have Faith Fun Filled with Felicity Embrace Fairness/Fair Have Fear of God Practice Forgiveness/Forgiving Friendly/a Friend Fruitful Fearless Favorable/Favored Fervent Festive Frank Fabulous Love our Father in Heaven Flax (see Proverbs 31) part of the Family of God Filled Familiar
Absolutely every one of those is true. If we can be all those things, we can't HELP knowing how close to God we are. And of course, we can't BE any of those things WITHOUT God. Ya gotta love how that works.
Two of you guessed the word I had in mind ... MISS CRYSTAL and ADIE ... and that word is (drum roll, please) ...
It's a surprising choice, really. Most of us grow up in the church hearing about all the things we AREN'T supposed to do because we're Christians. You've got all those "Thou shalt nots" in the Ten Commandments. All the stuff Paul warns us against in the New Testament. Not to mention the taboos various denominations come up with from their interpretation of the Bible -- some say dancing is sinful, others say it's not okay to use musical instruments in the worship service, still others argue that we should only have grape juice for communion rather than wine.
I'm not saying any of that is "bad." Just as the people Paul was writing to needed some guidelines for their new life, we need them too. We are human, after all. I mean, just imagine what it would be like if your little brothers and sisters were allowed to do whatever they wanted to. Yeah ... pretty scary.
The problem with those guidelines happens when people focus on what they aren't allowed to do and not on what Jesus was really about. And here's what that is:
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
How do we do that? How do we balance the "rules" that are there to help us and the being free that God wants for us? Good news: Jesus tells us how to do that too.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Basically, Jesus gives us the freedom to love. And that gives us freedom FROM the other things that tie us up like we've been captured.
So, here's what you can do:
1. In your Talking to God Journal (this is EVE's) make a list of the things that keep you from being free -- that make you feel like you're tied up and can't be your God-made self. For example -- some rules your parents have for you that you think you might have outgrown --- sharing a room with a sibling --- a kid at school or co-op or church who makes fun of you --- your own idea of what's beautiful (and you're not it!)
2. Choose the one that makes you feel the most like that image you get when you aren't being you. Remember those drawings you did? Like ASHER's? And OLIVIA's? What is that one too-tight thing in your life that keeps you tied up? And farther from God?
3. Now, in your Talking to God Journal, well, talk to God about it. Pour out how it feels. How it makes you to do stuff you really don't want to do (like laugh at things that aren't funny or try to act like somebody else or lash out at someone.)
4. Finally, ask God to help you be free of it. A cool way to do that? Read Luke 13:10-16 and imagine yourself as the bent-over woman. Think of Jesus saying, "You're free. Even the rules of the church can't stop me from making you your true self." How does that feel?
If you want to comment, tell us what that one thing is that you would like to be set free from.
And not to worry -- I'll be asking for your choices for the letter G in a day or two so don't post those yet. You can be thinking about that, but I REALLY want you to focus on your freedom right now. Deal?