Good morning, Mini-Women! Happy Freedom Friday. That's what I'm calling today -- because as Christ followers we are all FREE. (If you missed the freedom post, just click here )
Doesn't seem like it sometimes, though, does it?
HALLE BELLE and AMANDA are struggling with REALLY getting that they're free to:
* listen to praise songs in public
* pray at meals in restaurants besides Chik Fil A
* share God with people
You ARE, but it's hard when you get those judgmental looks from other kids and you can almost hear them thinking, "Oh, they're CHRISTIANS." Like it's something abnormal. It seems like in order to fit in, you have to hide your love for God and your commitment to lead a Jesus life.
And that's not all.
AMANDA says she's been afraid to do the things on her list that she didn't feel free to do.
ASHER said she'd like to set herself free from comparing herself to other people.
You know what I'm hearing? I'm hearing that FEAR is what really keeps us from spreading our wings and experiencing the freedom we're given by God. It makes you ask yourself --
* Are people going to think I'm weird?
* Will I end up with no friends?
* Is God mad at me because I won't talk about him to my friends?
* Is Jesus upset with me because I act like I'm ashamed to know him?
* If I find out who I am right now, can I really BE that?
Fear is like being hit with a taser gun. It paralyzes us. We can't even take the next right step because, well, we can't move.
The good news about tasers? Their effect is only temporary. Sure you're going to feel anxious when you share that the music you listen to is different from what's popular. Yeah, you're going to be nervous when you step out in that outfit that is NOT on trend but is so you.
And ... somebody COULD look at you like you're from Planet Weird. Or ask why you're wearing THAT. Or point out that nobody else listens to King and Country.
And their point is?
I mean, really, so what?
a. it feels so GOOD to be free and authentic and genuine and yourSELF
b. I KNOW there are other people, besides the critics and judges and deciders of what's cool, who will admire you for stepping up and standing out; you'll open up possibilities for new friendships
c. you don't have to engage with people who pick you apart. Have a one-liner ready and say it with kindness and respect -- and then go back to what you were doing:
* "I love being me."
* "Thanks for sharing, but actually, I don't really need your approval."
* "My life is so good because I have God, so I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing."
Things to AVOID -- as in, DON'T do them!
* Being sarcastic: "Oooh, you're really scaring me. I'm might curl up and die if you don't like me."
* Giving back what people dish out to you: "Yeah, well, I've always thought YOU were weird for doing what everybody else does."
* Preaching: "You should be praying too. If you aren't saved, you'll go to h___ when you die."
* Acting superior: "I'm authentic, which is more than I can say for you."
* Withering: "Stop saying that! You're hurting my feelings!"
* Lashing out: "OH, just SHUT UP!!!!"
* Using eye-for-an-eye body language: Staring back as rudely as they're staring at you. Doing that thing where you point two fingers at your eyes and them point them at their eyes. Rolling your eyes. Getting that scrunchy, "Are you SERIOUS?" look on your face
You know why you need to treat the I'm-so-cool critics with as much respect as you can? Because THEY'RE SCARED TOO. Why else would they insist that everybody be like them?
KAYLEE found a way to get freedom from that fear:
I realized that I am free to share God with my classmates and read my Bible in my free time. I thought I might offend someone or I would get my Bible taken away.
(That didn't happen)
AMANDA gave it a try too:
I looked at my list (especially the side of the things I wish I could do) and I guess I can do all of them. I am just too afraid. But today I am going to try one of them. Usually I wear name brand teeshirts and jean shorts like all my friends, but today I think I will try a new style.
ASHER is working on it too.
One thing I'm free to do is keep on finding my authentic self.
I love this line from a song by the Eagles:
So oftentimes it happens, that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.
We have the key and that key is God. This summer we're collecting an alphabet of things we need to be to realize God is close to us. And wouldn't you know ... in addition to such words as
gracious generous gentle Godly grinning growing gifted grateful
I mean, right? No, it isn't easy because you're still figuring out who you are. But once you stop listening to what everybody ELSE tells you that you should be, it really does get easier.
If you want to comment on this post, here's what to do:
1. In your Talking To God Journal (TTGJ), make a list of the people whose opinions are keeping you from expressing who you are. This isn't a put-down list, like, "Look how horrible these people are!" Remember that the most judgmental people are the most frightened. Besides, this list is just for you.
2. Next to each one, write down what you don't do that you'd like to because of what that person might say or think
3. Choose one -- and just DO that genuine thing. It might be scary but it's like jumping off the high dive. It's terrifying while you're standing up there, but once you do it, you feel so GOOD!
4. Share with us what you're planning to do or, better yet, tell us what you did and how it felt.
Just remember, other people may still curl their lips and roll their eyes, but who cares? Eventually they'll stop when they realize their opinions don't count with you.
Blessings, my mini-women -- and happy Freedom Friday --