Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cool is that God Loves Me

By Angcat (from the archives 4/1/09)

Is God a man that He should lie?
Is He a hero in the sky?
Does He love me for my clothes,
My style of hair or size of nose?
Or am I cool because I'm made,
In His own image, that won't fade?

These thoughts came to me a few weeks ago after my 5 year old and I had a conversation that went something like this...
"Hey buddy, it's time to pick your school clothes for tomorrow. How about these ones?"
('These ones' being a cool, blue, sporty set that kind of looked like a soccer warm up outfit).
"No I don't want those ones, my friends don't like them", he said.
"Why not", I asked, puzzled, "What's not to like, these are cool clothes?"
"They don't have pictures or designs on the pants, so they're not cool" was his response, and he refused to wear them.

Five years old and already the pressure to wear the "right" clothes.

So I said gently to him "Honey, it's not what you wear that makes you cool. You are cool because you belong to God. You are the King's kid. It's not what's on your body that makes you important, but Who lives in your heart. And if your friends comment about your clothes, you can let them know that you like them and that's what matters".

I hate peer pressure. And I was aghast that it was starting to hone in on these children at such a tender age. The giver of the comment is just as vulnerable as the receiver, as he has also bought into the idea that a person's clothes are worthy of his scrutiny. And who sets the standard anyway. Where did this child learn that logos or designs on the pants make them more worthy of approval, and conversely how do kids get the idea that they can go to a friend and place a judgement on what they are wearing. Yes I'm concerned. It may all be innocent preferences, but this is where it all starts, right. When my son was first given these clothes, he loved them and wore them as a first choice, now he doesn't want to wear the pants to school.
So now, I want to start a movement.
It'll be called "In God's Image", or "Cool Hearts", or "Let's All Wear Hand Me Downs", or maybe "Not What You Wear, But Who You Know".
You get my drift. How do we spare these little ones the pain and pressure of trying to measure up in a world that says you only matter if you've got the right label on your back, or feet, or wherever.
It's our job as parents to guide, comfort and mold little hearts to hear that strong, quiet voice, that whispers a cry of love and acceptance just because. "Because you're mine", I hear Him say (rather like in a Max Lucado story). " I bought you with a great price. I gave my whole life for you little one", as He enfolds a small hand in His strong carpenter one. "I love you always dear one" he murmurs into the little face gazing up at Him, eyes as bright as stars and full of wonder.

And just like the dots and stars in Lucado's story of Punchinello, other people's opinions will fall off, if we teach them to press in to the heart of their Maker.

I think I'll do a children's book about Covering. Covering is Who we're covered by, not what we're covered with. That's a right perspective. I'm still working on it in my own life too. It must be a life long journey.

Dear Father God,
Thank you that You look on the heart, not on the outside where man looks. Sometimes that's scary because what's in there isn't so nice and I'd rather that You just see the external me that I've prepared for humanity. Yet there's a deep rest and assurance in the fact that You see and love me, spotty heart and all and haven't finished working on it yet.
Please help our children as they navigate this world of external expectations. May they turn their hearts to the eternal and find the Truth and the Life and the Way that You are.

13 comments:

Belinda said...

Oh Ang, hurry up and write that book. It sounds so wonderful and it is so needed. And as for the movement you want to start--that sounds awesome too.

I loved this post. Thank you for sharing your writing and heart here.

Susan said...

Can I pre-order an autographed copy for all ten of my grandchildren? And I'll take ten t-shirts, too. :o)

As for the book... Max Lucado and Veggie Tales move over! Here comes AngCat. (I'm serious!)

Angcat said...

Dear Susan,
You're loopy, and I love you.
Ang

Dave Hingsburger said...

angcat, I join in the chorus here ... amen to the need to instil value into a generation that only understands cost. I did a session today on bullying and teasing of people with disabilities, but I could see that everyone in the audience understood those concepts on a more personal level. Learning to stand up and be who you are, know that who you are is who you are supposed to be, that God didn't make a mistake when he made you, that your worth comes from what you do not what you wear, that your value comes from being loved not being thin ... these are just some of the things that I wish we could teach ... and have believed.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Is is appropriate to ask a question here, I just finished reading a book 'O' that was about the battle between the lutherns, catholics and the anabapitists ... one of the main points of contention was justification by faith alone, or justification by faith and works (faith without works is dead). I've always loved the book of James in the NT but never hear it preached. So I admit to being a faith and works guy ... what say you oh wise women of Whatever He Says

Belinda said...

Wow, that's a big question and a good one you've asked of the WWOWHS! :) To be tackled prayerfully in a post or two or more, I think. Thanks for prompting some good stuff (I hope) to come.
With love,

Susan said...

Whew, that let's me off the hook. (He only wants to hear from the wise ones...)

Belinda said...

Nope, you are not off the hook! Nice try though. :)

Angcat said...

Wow!
Thanks Dave for that question posed. Here's a thought. I'm becoming interested in the Hebrew way of thinking and understanding scripture and our faith. I went last night with two friends to hear a Spanish Jewish Christian speak on having a greater understanding of our faith by learning the ways and language of our forefathers (like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). I came away feeling like there is an ocean of knowledge to be learned and I just tasted a drop, but came away thirsty. The whole point of this is to say that in the scripture, there were really only two groups, Jews and Gentiles, no Lutherans, Catholics or Baptists. We as Gentiles benefited by Yeshua coming to the Jews first.
There's so much here, but like Belinda said...let us blog.

And Susan...all I can say is...What she said!.
:-)
Ang

Night Owl said...

Angcat, I loved this post so much. You really do need to write a book - it would help kids so much. I love Max Lucado too. He's one of my favourite authors. When I was in elementary school, I didn't really have any friends because I dressed differently and read books and played music. Others watched TV and read magazines and wore "cool" clothes. And I remember that my grade six teacher read us a Max Lucado book that year, because she knew the other girls would leave me out and I always had to do group projects alone... She knew that this was happening... She read the one about the dot stickers (my first Max Lucado book!). I'm not sure it affected the other girls in my class, but it definitely affected me. And even though nothing really changed after that, I felt different... I was stronger I guess. Books are so wonderful. :)
Anyway, thanks. :) I really loved your post. :)
Night Owl

Night Owl said...

Oh! One more thing I want to share!
I have a neighbour, a girl in grade 6, who wants to "fix" her nose. She has the tiniest, most perfect nose ever. I CANNOT understand. And I think it's just terrible. I mean, she's not even fully grown (so it's probably going to change, right?)!
And when she told me this, I just didn't know what to say!

Angcat said...

Dear Night Owl,
I was a kid like you too. Not so stylish, bookish, not sporty (we had horses instead of being on sports teams) and no T.V.
Like you said though, when Jesus came in everything changed. My focus of value was completely different, and the opinion of my peers began to matter less and less.
As for your young neighbour, a bunch of questions run through my mind, but you'd have to filter them through the Holy Spirit.
I'd like to know what initially made her think that her nose isn't nice. Go back to the beginning.
Ask her if she knows she's made in God's image, and that He always does a good job, but it's by His standards, not the world's.
Do you have "You are Special" by Max Lucado. Maybe she could borrow it.
Whatever works. I know God will lead you, if He has put this little one in your path. My prayers are with you and her.
Thanks for sharing.
Angcat

Night Owl said...

Horses sound awesome. :) I've always wanted to ride a horse. Do you still have horses?
Actually, not having a TV sounds awesome too. :) I hate TV. It helps people stay home in their basements instead of going out and seeing the symphony or a movie in a theatre - it builds walls not bridges. Besides it's boring to watch TV. :) :) :) Nevertheless, the rest of my family watches TV. I refuse though - not that I have time to do so anyway. :)
I wonder why she thinks her nose isn't nice too. But when I asked her she explained that it was too big...(and it's really tiny!) I have to think of a way to rephrase the question.
She doesn't believe in God though... so I'm not sure if I could tell her that she's made in God's image and that He always does a good job, and we're each "perfect" in His eyes.
I don't have any Max Lucado books! Isn't it terrible? :O :)
Night Owl