Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
One of the hardest things about being a girl is living up to other people’s standards. We are constantly bombarded with pictures and videos of girls that we think are skinnier, prettier, stronger, or happier than we are. It can be hard to get past these feelings.
One way to feel better about yourself is to not compare yourself to others. We need to learn to be thankful for the body that God gave us, and take care of it and use it to do things that honor God. And it is just as important to help our friends and others feel good about themselves to! The easiest way to do this is by accepting others just as they are.
God made each of us. Therefore we need to accept ourselves and accept others, because that is what God has called us to do!
Encourage others. Love others. And accept others. Not only will this help others feel good, but it will help you feel good, too!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Read Luke 17:11-19. This could be a tricky story. Ten guys had an awful disease and asked Jesus to heal them. This disease made it so they couldn’t live with their families and had to live out away from the community. Jesus healed them but only one stopped to say thank you—and the one that stayed was a foreigner! Did you catch what Jesus said to him? “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus was not just talking about being physically well—he was talking about being spiritually well. We don’t know what happened to those other guys. We know they were physically made well. Did they tell others what Jesus did? We don’t know. We do know that the one that stayed and said thank you was spiritually made well too! It was in the act of obedience that healing came.
You may feel unworthy. You may feel unloved. Maybe you are lonely and feel like an outcast. God can make you spiritually well. This foreigner would have heard all his life that he wasn’t good enough and instead, Jesus tells him he is good enough.
You are chosen by God and dearly-loved (see Colossians 3:12). If you need help today, do whatever it takes to get it. You are worth it!
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisors they succeed.
My daughter loves a book called Little Blue Truck. In this book, a little blue truck helps a big dump truck that gets stuck in the mud. Little Blue Truck can’t do it alone, and so it takes the truck and all the barnyard animals to get the dump truck free. One of my favorite lines from the story is:
“’Thanks, little brother,’ said the Dump to Blue. ‘You helped me and they helped you. Now I see a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends.’”
The Dump reminds us of something that God’s word taught us long ago. We don’t have to do anything alone. We have friends and family to support us and help us get through those sticky, muddy moments of life. Those same friends and family can also celebrate and laugh with us on those joyous, sun shiny days in this world!
Maybe you are having a hard time emotionally. Share with a trusted believer who can pray for you.
Maybe you are trying to finalize plans after high school. Find a young adult who can share how they narrowed down their choices.
Maybe you aren’t confident to sit with the new kid at lunch. Ask a buddy to join you to help you feel more comfortable.
Maybe you are nervous about dancing at the dance this weekend. Have your dad show you his dance moves.
Maybe you are nervous about a quiz coming up. Study with your momma and have her text you a prayer right as you sit down to take it.
The happy things. The sad things. The hard things. The silly things. You do not have to do anything alone. You can lean on the Holy Spirit and those people God put in your life to help you and hold your hand as you walk through this life. Remember, “a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Do you know that God thinks of you every moment?
He can, you know.
He can think of each and every person on the planet.
He can name them.
He can hear their hearts crying out.
He can hear you.
He thinks of you.
He celebrates with you.
He cries with you.
He is with you. Always.
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
It is great to surround yourself with people—but make sure the people you are surrounding yourself are good people.
Most people have a core group of friends—your team. They are there for you no matter what! Maybe one of these people came to the conference with you and is the person who is helping you be brave enough to do what you decided to during the service project.
You know your true friends because they are there when you need them. In high school, a friend of mine and I were both going through hard times. Oddly enough, although separated by 200 miles, we were always there for each other when we needed it. When we were finally together in person again, we talked about everything that had been going on in our lives—she had been dealing with an eating disorder and I was the encouragement she needed even when I didn’t know that was her exact struggle. I was struggling with figuring out who my true friends really were during a very drama-filled semester of high school and she proved to be one of them.
Who do you need on your team? Are there people who are not breathing life into you and you need to start separating yourself from those relationships?
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
I remember thinking at one point “If I hear someone tell me I’ll understand when I’m older ONE MORE TIME…”
It’s so easy to look down on someone because they are younger, but age has so little to do with faith. You can choose to act young and try and push boundaries to see what you can get away with, or you can choose to set yourself apart in love and grace, growing into the woman God would have you to be.
When you go to do something, remember that people are looking for an excuse to look down on you.
When you go to say something, remember that people are listening to the words you’re saying to blame you.
When you speak about Jesus, remember that you can be the person that brings someone into a life-changing decision to accept Him.
Do not use your age as an excuse. And do not let anyone else use it as an excuse, either.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
What you want doens’t always matter. I know that sounds harsh, but the reality is this: there is a much bigger story unfolding around you. You can only see bits and pieces of it, and what you can see doesn’t always make sense.
Add to that the way social media has invaded our lives, and it’s so easy to make your opinion and your thoughts the most important thing you think about. Sweet girl, it’s not. Remember, you’re not called to be like the world. You’re called to be better than the world, different than the world, set apart from the world.
The easiest way to do that is to remember this verse! Every time you’re tempted to put yourself first, remember that you’re not first. Every time you’re tempted to make yourself bigger, remain smaller. Instead of celebrating yourself, celebrate your friends. Instead of bragging about your accomplishements, brag about your friends.
Be different. Be Jesus.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
Some days it’s going to feel like it’s all too much. You have too many obligations, too many responsibilities, too much drama – and you’re going to wonder if it’s all worth it. Maybe you’ve been made fun of one too many times for your faith. Maybe you just don’t want to feel different any more. Maybe you’re just tired of it all and you’re ready to throw the towel in and do what everyone else is doing.
Don’t do it, sweet one.
Don’t give up.
Fight the good fight.
Finish the race.
Keep the faith.
While it may seem like too much, I can promise you it’s not. It’s not too much to choose to love well. It’s not too much to choose joy when sorrow is easier. It’s not too much to keep your eyes on Jesus when the world is spinning out of control.
God is always there. Always faithful. Always true.
Keep the faith.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Why do bad things happen?
This is a question a lot of people struggle with. The answer, although hard to grasp, is pretty easy. God gave us free will. He allows us to make our own choices and isn’t a puppet master who wants to pull our strings to make us do something. He loves us and his goal is to have an intimate relationship with us. He isn’t out to punish us. But he also isn’t here just to make us happy. He wants to be involved in our lives. He wants us to be free.
That means that sometimes, bad things happen. So how do we deal with them? We endure, we change, and we are creative. Maybe you didn’t get on a team you tried out for. Maybe you didn’t get accepted to the college you want. Maybe you aren’t sure how you are going to pay for college. These things, are temporary. They happen for a season, but we can use them to strengthen us and to prepare us for other things.
What hard thing are you going through right now? If you aren’t, what is a friend going through that you can walk beside them? How do you think you can look back in a couple years on this current situation and see how God was still there with you?
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Can you picture it? The verse above is about the beginning of creation. Nothing has happened yet, but the Spirit of God is there and the expectation that something amazing is about to happen is evident.
It’s almost like everything that ever would be created was holding its breath and waiting to explode forth in glorious light. The Spirit of God was hovering, still and silent, ready to move and create, well, everything.
That same Spirit of God waits in that same moment of expectation for us. He is there, all the time, watching and waiting to see what we will do. All of the power of God is poised to act and work on our behalf.
Let that sink in.
All of the power of God is ready and waiting to act. For you.
God is ready and willing. He is hovering over the deep and dark in expectation that you will do something amazing.
And then, in one brilliant moment, life and light explode and the God of the universe unveils himself – through you. You are the way He continues to change and impact the world He created.