“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Lexie, my daughter and I teach a teenage girl gratitude workshop that we focus on this bible verse. Teens are so impressionable and worried about what society thinks of them and how they fit in with others. Teens can be cruel to each other if they aren’t practicing God’s will especially teenage girls.
We explain to these girls that God has placed you on this earth to be an unique and beautiful addition to our world. Each one has been planned and designed by our loving God and He knows why he has made them the way they are. He gave some freckles, some curly hair, some are tall while others are short.
The one thing God mastered in all of us is to be kind and loving and to walk the path he has engineered for us. We let them know when they walk and talk God’s words they become strong, confident young women. It will also become natural for them with practice.
We recognize that young teens have great insecurities and we teach them several techniques to practice gratitude and that by doing so God’s love will fall into place naturally for them. Here are a few examples of what we teach.
We offer them the suggestion to tell their secrets to God instead of sharing them with friends. God will never tell your secrets or judge them for what they have done. The friend they are besties with today may be against them tomorrow and an onset of grief and regret make ensue. We emphasize by always going to God first even before their parents is the best thing to do. It produces clarity and they will begin to feel God helping them solve the issue or secret and things become so clear when you open yourself up to God. Once they have gone to God then they can go to mom and dad.
We also teach them about practicing keeping God’s words on their lips when they respond to gossip. We tell them when they are approach by others that are spreading gossip that they have three options on how to respond. The first option is to participate in the gossip and if they do that, they are actually going against God’s will and opening themselves up for gossip to come back against them.
The second option to respond to gossip to is stay neutral or defend the one being talked about. For example if someone has said, “Did you hear about Susie? She did inappropriate things with Tommy after the football game!” We ask the girls to think hard about responding at this point. We suggest either saying nothing or if they are strong enough to say, “I know Susie pretty well and I’m not sure that is not true.” We will always offer to help them build their confidence if they want to be a “defender”.
The last option we give them is to turn around and walk away and don’t hang around for any additional conversations. They are urged to do this at first until they become strong enough to become a “defender”. This will eliminate hearing what is being said and having the temptation to share it or give any more thought to the negativity.
We try to teach the girls to have a plan in place before a situation arises when dealing with peer pressure. The plan will revolve around the same three options and can be used in any situation. If they plan to always do God’s will they will be successful in getting out of peer pressure situations and making God proud. We help them put God first in their mind that will lead to finding God in their heart. When they have God in their heart then the answer will always be simple and clear.
I know for many years I did everything I could to conform to society and what I felt was necessary to be accepted. I would cut my hair with the latest trends, study how to put my makeup on to be in style as well as follow all the latest diets to lose weight. I would go into debt buying things for others as well as clothes and purses I couldn’t afford because it was what was hot and accepted.
I even allowed my thoughts to follow gossip magazines and everything I heard on the news and believed the stories to be true. Every morning I would wake up and put on the “Today” show so I could have some explosive current topics to talk about. This was around the time of the murder of Caylee Anthony by her mother Casey Anthony. I fixated on this story and spoke about it all day long at work. I would pass judgement as I told the story.
I found that during this time I couldn’t sleep, I was depressed and not happy. It took literally an act of God to say, “My child you are creating your own misery and I don’t want that for you. I want you to be blessed and loved.” This hit me like a ton of bricks and I never watched the story again. I also dropped my morning TV ritual and gave up the news. There was recently a TV special about this case on the ten year anniversary and I wanted to watch it with different eyes. I wanted to look at the story with the new eyes God gave me and find something good about a story that took me to a very dark place originally. The story was actually about how Casey’s parents have dealt with what Casey did to their life and their current position on what happened.
I watched intently as the parents, George and Cindy talked about the way they have grown their marriage and understanding of each other. I overlooked any rehashing of the case within the story or anything about Casey’s life since she was acquitted. I only focused on George and Cindy and the words they spoke about each other.
They do still stand very divided on what they think happened but I saw remarkable patience and strength within both of them. I saw one break down and the other hug the one suffering. I saw them begin to argue fiercely and then back down to calm themselves. I cannot begin to know what these two people have gone through but with God’s love I can recognize the mercy He has given them with each other. The blessing for them to be able to rely on each other in very treacherous times. I choose to see God’s healing hands in their story instead of what the enemy wants me to see.
Since feeling God in my heart and practicing his will daily I have become such a better, happier, genuine, blessed woman. I am not seeking material things to keep me conforming to society but prefer to give my extra dollars to a homeless person or speak only kind words and compliments to those that are down.
God has blessed my with good health after illness, new love after a reckless marriage, a beautiful daughter after a miscarriage, enough money in the bank not to suffer from financial woes and His touch every day. I feel God in my life supporting me to make good decisions to help and love others unconditionally. He has rescued me from worry and has taught me to always trust His plan for my life.
I pray if you are struggling with conforming and what others pressure you to be, please sit in a quiet space with no distraction and listen for God. He will guide you in your silence and you must be silent to receive it. Let go of everything you are worried about and let God fill your heart and mind and present his peace and love to you for a more abundant and happy life. He only wants the best for you and will give it you when you do His will.
All my love, peace and gratitude for you, LoLo
” But first seem the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33