Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break ~ PLEASE

I sat in the car line today, watching some of the 1200 students file out. They were a collage of striped leggings, skinny jeans, baggy shorts, colored hair, hats pulled to eyelashes, preppy plaid bags, surplus army bags, athletic shorts, t-shirts, eyes up, eyes down, laughing, expressionless, and the list could go on and on. I had moments of wanting to giggle and wonder, "What in the world inspired her to wear pink beads with black army boots?" And then I had moments of wanting to cry for ones like the boy who walks fast, first one of the building, and doesn't make eye contact with anyone. When I see the cinnamon haired girl who stands at the end of the sidewalk each day, I want to open my car door and tell her, "It's going to be okay. I can see you're beautiful." It's no wonder kids today are confused and searching for the SECURITY we reflected on yesterday as we started "SPRING BREAK" week.

But have you seen the ads for "High School Reunion" on tv or the show that gives a 2nd chance for high school romance? I don't know about you, but high school isn't really something I want to relive. The after school parade of students is not that far off from the work day parade of adults in many ways. Life today leaves many young people longing to know they PLEASE someone ... anyone.

P is for PLEASE, longing to please someone. Many teens go to great lengths to do what peers or older people tell them will make them happy, but it often takes them down an empty road. My daughter came home and shared the story of a schoolmate who accepted the invitation of an older student to leave campus; the freshman girl was lured away by promises the older boy would like and accept her, only to find his invitation led to drugs and sexual pressure. The student hung her head and talked quietly as she confessed to my daughter what had happened. When we talked and prayed over why this girl would find it tempting, it was clear she lives in a world where she feels like she doesn't really Please anyone who matters. Kids feel like they need to be pursued, sought after, desired, watched, emulated, or followed in order to be "pleasing enough" to feel accepted. Spring Break for some will turn out to be a week when they take risks and cross lines in hopes of pleasing someone who will love them.

From an early age and into the young adult years, parents and godly friends can help steer students by feeding them truthful messages in place of worldly messages. We should long to please someone, but not just anyone.

"Therefore we make it our aim whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him," 2 Cor. 5:9.

"...and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again," 2 Cor. 5:15.

The school years can be years of following, as children move from their primary influence being their parents to experiencing more and more influence from peers and their culture. They will all choose to follow someone, to strive to please someone. Jesus Christ invites us to follow Him, giving His life so we could have hope and forgiveness, not so He could take advantage of us and hurt us. "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him," Heb. 11:6. He is worthy of our desire to please Him. That instinct to please is not wrong; I think God planted it in our hearts so we would be prepared to long to please Him. Kids need to hear:

  • You are dearly loved by God.
  • Every person strives to please someone; choose to please your Heavenly Father.
  • You are of great value to God and to me. (If you are reading this, then you care.)
  • Jesus made a way for you to accept God's invitation to come close to Him and follow Him.
  • The pleasure of a peer is short lived and will pass away, but God's delight in you is forever.
Don't wait until the young person you care about is packing up a car to drive off to the beach for spring break; tell them when they are little, when they are in the elementary years, when they are in puberty, when they are high schoolers, when they leave for college. And instead of spending a lot of time, money, and conversation shaping their image to please the world, spend your precious resources to help them grow to please God. When we model that we believe He is worthy of being the One to please, they will be more likely to believe it.

"the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit he will reap eternal life," Gal. 6:8
Other verses that are good resources: John 8:29, 2 Tim. 2:4, Heb. 10:38 & 11:35.

Tomorrow ... the "R"

3 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Cara said...

Julie, I really love this post. It is something that I fear, I have three girls, and I remember my highschool/college years very well! I am so scared that my girls will follow the wrong path, but I pray everyday that God's hand will always lead them in the right direction.


Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Cara,I've had those moments of feeling scared, too. It has motivated me to take the "offensive" to build my kids up before they encounter attacks, and it has constantly motivated me to pray for them. As they've gotten older, I've loved how our prayer times together have gotten deeper and more meaningful, just like when we prayed about this young girl together. I want my kids to hear how I pray for them and for others. Most of all, I know our Heavenly Father hears and will answer and give us wisdom to be the best moms we can be.

Teri Lynne Underwood said...

Julie, again, a timely post for me. I taught the students at our church tonight ... and was able to remind them that we are called to something greater than ourselves.