Dear small group babies,
You probably hate it when I call you my babies. You’re too mature to be considered such, I understand that, but you will forever be my babies, so, sorry I’m not sorry.
If I haven’t made it clear: I’m crazy about you. I love you and I like you. In fact, I could not love you more if I tried. It is a joy and privilege to do life with you, to lead you, to hear your perspectives and views and opinions, to witness your depth and get glimpses of your heart. I cherish each moment I get to be with you.
But life isn’t always joy bubbles and cake pops, is it? These days are wonderful and beautiful but also hard and exhausting. Mixed into the magical moments are seasons of struggle, of mundane, of fighting the fear of failure and the dreaded, crippling concern of being considered “less than.”
You, my dear, are not less than.
But here’s the thing. The radio of the world is always blaring. Culture, people, parents, peers, teachers, magazines, music, movies—they’re always talking to you, informing you, and subconsciously shaping your character and person and telling you what you need to be. Voices are constantly bombarding you, saying you need to be thinner, fatter, taller, shorter, more athletic, more intelligent, less talkative, more talkative, more opinionated, less opinionated.
The enemy of our souls is skilled at preying on our insecurities and exploiting them for anything but God’s glory. He wants you paralyzed by fear and uncertainty, plagued with doubts and discouragement, and pestered by a self-focus that will destroy you. I want to fight against his lies, accusations and traps, so please let me add one more voice to your life, one that I pray is Scriptural and points to the Wise One who loves you more than anyone else, even me (which is hard for me to wrap my mind around).
FIVE THINGS I WANT YOU TO BE
Be kind. To others. To yourself. Kindness is underrated and underemphasized. Think back over your lives—remember the people who were kind to you? The one who spoke the encouraging word? Who helped when you dropped your stuff? Who opened the door for you and prayed over you and wrote the note/text that brightened your whole day? Most importantly, remember the One who was bruised for your iniquities and swallowed your shame? Who was cursed in your place and carried the cross you deserved? Who was the One despised and rejected by God so that you could be loved and accepted? Remember Jesus’ kindness toward you when you only deserved His wrath? Be that caliber of kind for others.
Be brave. Take off the mask of trying to appear different than you really are and chuck that sucker into another continent. Be bravely you; don’t try to be anyone else. Be brave to do hard things. Be brave to live a life defined by the Bible (spoiler: that kind of life is abundant and wild and beautiful). Be brave to be kind. Be brave to serve others seeking nothing in return. Be brave to consider others better than yourself. Be brave to love fiercely, even when rejected. Be brave to be loved (sometimes that’s harder than loving others). Be brave to open your heart to new people, experiences and adventures. Be brave to risk falling. Be brave to fall. Be brave to rise again.
Be a learner. Ask questions, dig deep, go beyond the surface. Find the roots and plant yours deep. Invest in education, invest in theological training, invest in developing knowledge and then applying it to your life. Be a student of the Word. Learn something from everyone you meet. Always have a mentor. Seek truth and soak it in. Then pour out what you learn into others. Be a fountain not a drain. Be a pipeline not a puddle.
Be a child. We spend our teenage years wanting to get to the next milestone. I hear it from you all the time, you want to drive, you want to get to graduation, you want to get to college, you want to get through college. Those are amazing things and I’m so excited for what God has in store for you, but don’t rush. Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t waste your childhood. Enjoy being a kid. Enjoy being at home. Enjoy your parents paying for food. And for the love of chips and queso enjoy the ability to take naps pretty much whenever you want. Be a kid. Don’t try to tackle all the world’s problems or all your own problems, for that matter. Just be. Be still and know. Be dependent on God as a child is dependent on their parents.
Be weak. Hold up. Weak? Yes, weak. You know as well as I do that I do not want you to be some sort of passive, pansy doormat. I want you to be a gentle warrior, a strong woman with a faith-filled backbone and a resolve to fight for truth and goodness for all her days. But the Bible says the way to strength is through weakness. The way to success is through humility. The way up is down. Embrace your weakness and strength will shine—not yours, God’s.
Hear me: I am on your team. I am so in your corner—I could not be any more in your corner if I was duct taped to it. It is my mission to be a truth teller and one of your biggest fans, and I take the mission seriously. Because of that, I will fight for you and your (eternal) joy day by day, moment by moment, second by second. That’s what I’ve tried to do here.
Love you more than coffee, journaling, giraffes and yellow heart emojis,