Sunday, September 16, 2012
Walk the line...
My favorite night of the week is Thursday. I am beginning my 5th school year as a small group leader in our senior high youth program at church. I love those girls. The ninety minutes I spend listening to them and encouraging them is one of the highlights of my week. When I began serving with the senior high students five years ago, I questioned God's selection. I feared I was not "cool" enough or "trendy" enough or "non-judgemental" enough to gain their trust or respect. My desire to be popular among them plagued me like blister on my heel that rubbed in my shoe each time I stepped into the youth room. It nagged me and worried me. I questioned my potential advice and wondered if I was kidding myself to try to connect with girls who were much older than my own children.
The weeks began to flow into months and despite my insecurities, I kept showing up week after week. I sat with the girls and they began to reveal snippets of their lives. Stories surfaced of loneliness and friends who chose boyfriends over childhood friends. Tales of physical temptation and academic frustration poured out. Tears came and laughter bubbled over and my insecurities about being cool enough or popular enough or wise enough vanished.
As we throw back the kickstand and climb on for a wild ride into the fall season in my household, I am again dodging the potholes of my desire to be popular. I frequently question my teen girls on what their boundaries are in relation to their physical promiscuity. We talk about what their "lines" are...is it their neckline or their bra line or (hopefully not!) their panty line? What are their predetermined "u-turn only" lines? It is no accident that God has been requiring me to specify my "lines" as well.
With three kids in our house the opportunities for extracurricular involvement are overflowing. The offerings are many and the temptation to be involved in everything is great. Why can't each of my kids be involved in multiple sports and musical classes? They are all great aspirations and all promise to offer my kids fun or self-discipline or lasting friendships or academic advancement or increased physical coordination; all great things and my kids would love to do them all and I would love to be the most popular mom in town by saying yes to them, but I can't. What is my line?
As popular as all of the worlds offerings are and as tempted as I feel to keep up with other families in their quest for the most "over-scheduled" kids in town, I must reassess my boundaries. Isaiah 53:6a tells us "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned his own way." My husband and I are not popular with our son when we tell him he will have to miss Wednesday night football practices to attend AWANA. The world screams in my head..."what if he's not able to play at the Sunday games because he missed a practice?" When other first grade mom's cringe and tell stories of tired classmates who don't go to bed until after 9pm, I struggle with mom-guilt and resist the temptation to pull my kiddo out of religious education knowing she doesn't get tucked in until well after 9pm every Wednesday.
What is my line? Unless I choose to be unpopular and make hard choices for my kids future, who will? If my kids have the busiest schedule around and are the most skilled athletically, academically and musically but fail to have a foundation of faith, why will popularity matter? Walking away from the crowd may be the first step in crossing our children's threshold of faith, a line that I can only conciously cross when I am seeking a relationship with God and not popularity among my peers or my kids.