I sit, bible and prayer journal in hand, in the corner of the Nikolettes Gym. Parents are in the viewing area and several gymnastics classes are going on simultaneously. Girls on beam, bars, vault, and floor- learning skills, strengthening their bodies, gathering body awareness and balance. I look at all these beautiful girls, made in their Father's image. I see blond ringlets, and curly wisps of auburn and chocolate. There are thick masses of long brunette and deep asian dark. There's indian dark beauties and fair, freckled, irish red-heads. I look into eyes of blue, green, and brown and I wonder about the soul of these precious girls. What do they know of You, creator of them, giver of life? What do they know of Your love and righteousness? How will this culture they live in deceive them into believing success is outward beauty?
I think of a line Marilyn Munro shared so many years ago. "They'll give you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul."
She knew, this icon of her generation, the emptiness of worldly value. Her worth was measured by outward beauty, not by the intrinsic worth of a soul. Worldly beauty and success is empty and fleeting. Nothing's changed really, since then.
Oh Lord, these girls who You love extravagantly and perfectly, will they know that love? This generation before me will be the parents of tomorrow, the teachers, politicians, business developers, service providers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Each one has a different story, a different path before them. I wonder how, those of us who know You, are doing? Are we sharing our faith boldly? Is Your love shining bright enough from our lives? Is there less of our sin and more of your righteousness emulating from our lives? Are we holy as you are holy? How do we do, being the hands and feet of Jesus? Do we shine in the dark places in truth and love?
Lord, are we too busy aiming our children at success and not greatness? I think of the definition of greatness that I learned from Dr. Tim Kimmel, author of Grace-Based Parenting and Raising Children for His Greatness. Greatness, according to Kimmel, is raising children who are humble, generous, gracious, and servant-hearted. As parents, we clothe ourselves in these characteristics and teach and cultivate them in our children.
The success of this world, money, fame, and outward beauty, pale in the light of the inner qualities of greatness. Children and adults who aspire to greatness are other-focussed and those who aim for success are self-focussed. Do our children have the strength and power of knowing who they are in Christ? Do they know?
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. 1 John 3:1 NASV
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; ... Philippians 1:9-10 NASV
Oh Lord, Your grace is larger than the oceans and your love is deeper than anything we know. Blaze spirit, blaze. Shine Jesus, shine. Let us be a light in these dark places of this world. Let us bring Your light wherever we go. May those groping in the inky black find their way to You. May we be purposeful enough in what we do to make a difference in this culture and in this generation. Oh Lord, may these young girls in this gym, may young girls and boys everywhere know true greatness, not the empty success that so many of us see as the real thing. May the children of You see through the veil of our culture and know the truth. Oh Lord, may we all learn to love as You do.