We’ve all heard it, “But Mom, every one else has them.”
How do you explain to your child that you really don’t care if everyone else gets the most expensive brand of clothing, and you won’t be buying those for her?
Public school can be cruel for girls wanting and needing affirmation. Not all of them can have perfect blonde hair, be a cheerleader, and wear Victoria’s Secret. And how to explain to my daughters that it’s perfectly okay, and they should reach out to lonely people on the fringes more than prance the halls with the hottest girls.
As a thirty nine year old mother, I’ve been around the block a few times and I flat out don’t care about that shallow stuff. Sure, I love looking nice and having friends—but I don’t need name brand clothing and the most popular people to want to hang out with me.
The snap chats with shallow selfies weary me but they can grab our teen aged daughters with power that astonishes me. I’m not sure how under heaven vanity and shallow talk makes its rounds through thousands of followers, but it does, and can eat up hours of time.
Give me an authentic, real person any day. He or she can be eighty years old or ten years old, it doesn’t matter. Just let me see the real deal.
Perhaps that’s why I love tractors, barns, and mountains. Dirt and hay are the real deal. But, I also love Ulta, Bare Minerals, and LemonGrass Spa. Life can be a combination, like today when I ran around painting bathroom counter tops and smudged up walls before showering and having Starbucks with my sister.
It’s not that we have to choose one type of person over the other; its that we get to choose all people in the name of love and humility.
It shouldn’t matter whether a person is popular or not, outwardly beautiful or not, what he or she does for work, or how many friends they have. Because get this—none of that matters to Jesus and He absolutely loves every single person on the planet long before they made any cultural advances or work status.
My sister who travels the world working in refugee camps, rescuing trafficked women, writing, and speaking is weary of the status platform people place her on. I see her face as she tells me of the friend who says, “I’m behind you now, and I won’t catch up.”
But what is there for her friend to “catch up” on? Absolutely nothing!
Jesus doesn’t operate with that mentality. He cares about whether or not we love Him.
You can’t catch up on how much you love Jesus because I don’t think that’s even a thing. Nothing else matters to God and it shouldn’t matter to you either. Because if you really love Jesus, you will put him first, obey him, surrender to him, trust him. He will cover you before and behind, lead you to all things good, and surround you with peace and purpose.
What more could a human want?
Get this, girls—we don’t need to be popular as much as we need to be prayerful.
We don’t need affirmation as much as we need to affirm our identity in Christ.
We don’t need human followers as much as we need to follow an eternal God.
“It’s not fair to put anyone on a pedastool,” my sister says quietly. “It alienates people from each other.”
I nod my head. She’s right. It’s unfair to others, to ourselves, and it robs Jesus of his rightful place. Wasn’t it Him who said, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44, ESV)
Settle your heart, teen-aged girl who is tempted to lower her standard of worth to a pair of jeans or even worse, a pair of underwear. If others judge you for having or not having the best name brand piece, you may as well move on to deeper, more fulfilling friendships. Jesus wants your praise to come from Him, and he cares a whole lot more about whether or not you reach out to those he loves than whether or not you’re approved by a shallow group of girls who prance the halls together “looking great” in a certain peer group.
And us adult ladies, let’s settle our hearts and quit putting so much stock in people. You’ll be disappointed and perhaps your faith will be shattered if the ones you praise, fall. No one is God and even the best of humans can fall.
Jesus cares more about whether or not they get back up again.
He cares about who they are focused on, what is most important to them.
Our culture is so opposed to God’s values that we really can’t focus on both. How can you truly love the poor while trying to measure up with the latest expensive item eyed by others who wish to “fit in”?
In the same way you can’t place your trust in people and in God. A person may fall but God will always stand.
Let your child say, “But mom, every one else has them!” and simply remind her that value doesn’t come from a brand of clothing. Then show her true value by writing that check to your friends in Uganda while you purchase less expensive clothing for her.
Jesus always loves people. And the only thing He wants is for people to love Him back by loving others. Bless others more than impress others!