Good morning, Mini-Women! It was so fun reading comments by SIERRA, ARIANAH (welcome to Tween You and Me!), KATIE (welcome back), AMELIA, HOLY, MADIE, and ALYSSA. You definitely know child-ish faith when you see it. It's hard to call people on it (Although our AMELIA seems to have no trouble doing that! Good on ya!) The first part of that is seeing it in ourselves and turning it around. That's how we start being a light.
Told you these last three weren't going to be easy! Let's check out Number Nine:
TODAY'S VERSES: "Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God: let HIM tell you what to do." Matthew 23: 9, The Message
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT: It might sound weird that you can be a light by NOT doing something, so let me show you what that looks like --
* In your youth group, co-op or school, there's that one girl or small group of girls who set the trends, you know? If they start saying "Whatev'" or "Just sayin'", everybody starts saying it. If they decide pink is the only color to wear, the entire classroom starts looking like a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
* That's not so bad. Nothing wrong with fun slang and pretty colors, right? Even if you really like yellow better, it feels kinda good to be part of the pink movement.
* But then at lunch, you bow your head to pray and one of them says, "You're just showing off how religious you are." You look around and realize nobody else is praying before they eat their sandwich.
If you believe they're the experts on how to be, you say, "My bad," and start in on that PBJ.
If you believe God is the expert on how to be, you'll just bow your head and close your eyes and whisper your prayer.
Is there any way you've let a person your own age become an "expert" in your life? Is it keeping you from being you? Is it nudging you away from God?
WHAT TO DO WITH THAT: You do NOT have to make a spectacle of yourself praying for the absurd little creep boys at the top of your voice at recess or making a huge show of studying the Book of Matthew during free reading time. But when it comes to (a) being who you are and (b) doing what you know God wants, nobody else can be "the boss of you" and if you have to be a little "weird" when you don't let them, well ... that's the way it is sometimes.
But here's where the being-a-light part comes in:
* You like to wear the cross you made at youth camp.
* Expert Girl says it looks stupid.
* You say, "Well, you have a right to your opinion. I love it."
*Expert Girl rolls her eyes and curls her lip and tells the other Expert Girls you're a little Jesus Freak.
* It hurts.
* But Another Girl who has been watching all this thinks, "That was cool the way she handled that. I'm gonna wear my Jesus bracelet tomorrow."
* She does. Expert Girl rolls her eyes again but eventually she hushes up about it because she isn't getting any traction with you two.
* You get respect. You are a light.
Is there some small thing you can do that is totally you and shows that God's your expert? Will you do it, even if you know some Expert Girl will have something to say about it?
WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT: In your Talking to God Journal (and by the way, will someone explain the journal to ARIANAH in a comment?), ask God to show you who you really are. That is one question God will ALWAYS answer with a big ol' YES because that's one of the things God ALWAYS wants for us. Write down all the things you know are good and true about you. If you find yourself writing, "I am selfish," erase that. That isn't who you REALLY are. That's the way you behave sometimes, but that comes from the False You, not the True You. You're going to love what you write. You're going to want to be her all the time. She's the light. Let her shine.
"If you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty" (Matthew 23:12, The Message)
I'll see you TOMORROW for #10 and then again on Monday when we'll start getting packed for our Road Trip With Jesus To Jerusalem. From now on you'll just have 3 posts a week instead of 5, which will give you more time to keep up. Sound like a plan?