We live in a technological world of social media where its easier to say what you think to a computer screen. Blimey it’s easier to say what you think to another person via a computer screen. There is also a dangerous perception that words can be put out there and just deleted if regretted afterwards. But it’s an illusion because once words are read by someone you can’t take them back. The delete button is no-one’s safety net.
I wanted to share a little about some changes The Husband and I will be making in September, but before I do I need to be realistic and acknowledge that I’m in a position of influence both as a mum and as a youth pastor. The words I use matter. That’s not coming from a place of arrogance but from a place of responsibility that scares the baheebijeebies out of me. But in my weakness HE is made strong and so on we go. We want to live transparently, in our motives and actions.
So before I chat on about what September will probably look like to us, I want to put it all into context (this is sounding really serious, and it’s so not, ha! It’s just that I don’t want to risk any misunderstanding).
On Monday at The Link I talked to our young people a little about what it is to Give your heart to God…
When you are single to mingle and you find someone very cute and who like you back, its a pretty great feeling, right? Having a crush on someone or even falling in love is often not a choice, it’s a progression of a relationship and before you know it you feel like your heart is not your own any more. When someone has your heart there are a couple of things that happen that help us understand what its’ like to be in relationship with your creator, and what its’ like to be ‘in relationship’ with the world. For now we’ll just look at one, but its’ a biggie…
When you’re infatuated, it’s very easy for your identity to be rooted in the object of your affection. And before all the Mr and miss independents among you start heckling that no person will validate them – I say amen (!) but we have got to be real here. People don’t complete you, but you’d be lying if you said that what the people closest to you say about you didn’t matter. I’ve seen shy girls walk on air with a sudden spring in their step when their sweethearts have told them that they’re the best girl around. And too often I’ve seen strong and amazing girls reduced to nothing when the guy in their life has said they’re worth nothing. Its’ gutting to see. And this absolutely isn’t exclusive to the girls at all, its’ just been my experience because I’ve worked with a lot of young girls.
In today’s culture there is expectation screaming at young people. The girls should be flawlessly beautiful (and when i say flawless I mean flawless, to the point of impossibility. cough cough Photoshop cough cough). They should be skinny but still have all the right curves and you know which two curves I’m talking about! They should be outgoing, popular and affectionate but heaven forbid she fails to master the ultimate balance and be branded frigid or a slag.
And the guys don’t escape it either. They are facing the pressure to be buff without becoming self obsessed, be reliable without becoming boring, be funny without be just plain weird and be sensitive without being a wimp.
Talk about a tightrope! whatever the pressure, there’s expectation to reach a standard. So when you consider how young people place their identity and self worth in this culture its’ easy to understand how so many are gripped with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, behavioural issues along with so other mental health issues.
If we place our identity in God, its’ all about one thing: Seeing ourselves how HE sees us. Our creator not only eases that pressure to conform to one model of human being but actually embraces diversity. This gives us permission to relax into how he made us. Our bodies are to be loved, cared for and even celebrated, only, not in a way to objectify ourselves for someone else but to recognise that we’re made in the image of HIM. The whole Bible is a love letter from God and is all about how he sees us. and there are a lot of words in the Bible. But here are just a few of what your creator has called you:
Precious Children of God Redeemed Restored
Worthy Accepted Honoured Loved
God is passionate about us and is longing for us to recognise that so we don’t have to buy into the pressure to out perform each other in order like ourselves.
This isn’t new stuff, it’s the foundation of the Gospel – The good news of Jesus Christ. He first Loved us. We can approach him as we are. We don’t need to be bigger, better, smarter, funnier, sexier, stronger to receive his acceptance – its’ already ours for the taking!
This is what grounds us as youth pastors. This is what grounds us as parents. This is what grounds me as a woman and its’ what grounds The Husband as a man. Everything, everything is pivotal on this, and its’ the safest place to be.
(To be continues in the next few days…….)