The high level buzz told the story: the mothers and daughters were thrilled to be enjoying this special time together. My mom and I joined the painting workshop at the retreat, giving a try at something new. Attracted to a table with several young girls, I wanted to be near their excited energy.
As we followed the early instructions, there was chatter and even laughter, as each painter created the simple background for our masterpieces. “I can do that!” I thought, studying the example the instructor held up. The storm began to swirl, though, easy ended. Now it was time to give our hand at the details.
Trying to make light of a skill I don’t readily possess, I teased with my mom how my painting was not a re-creation of our teachers. For a young girl near, it was no joke though. Frustration began to take over; tears hanging on her lower lashes as she tried to keep it together, her painting developing in a way she despised.
Suddenly, grabbing her paint brush, her tears, a pot of boiling water, overflowed. She scrubbed her canvas, her brush loaded with black paint, trying her best to ruin what she had just begun.
Her creation was not like the model and her little spirit could not take the disappointment in herself. She ran from the room. Rushing from her failure, she tried to escape the expectation she had come with.
My heart broke for this dear, little person.
If the expert’s example had not been placed in front of her eyes, I thought, she would have known the truth: hers was her own unique masterpiece.
Instead, she detested what she saw.
Don’t we do the same at times?
We look at our image in the mirror, the numbers on the screen, the things we have given our lives to that have not turned out the way we thought and we come to this conclusion: too far from the “model”. So short of society’s expectations … and our own.
Yet our Creator, looking on, is saying to us, the ones He loves:
“No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20 (NLT)
We are not the only ones struggling. So do the younger ones who surround us. With perfection continually before their eyes, their tender spirits can’t take the continual scrutiny of the screen. Maybe this is why recent studies tell us 1 in 5 of today’s teens suffer from depression and suicide rates practically double during the school year instead of the summer.
Can’t we help them, friends? Can’t we stand up and say, “Put it down.” Put down the phone. Put away the continual parade of what culture says. Be done with the daily comparison. Put down society’s definition of ideal. Pick up God’s definition of flawless.
Jesus is calling to us all: “…Open to me, my treasure, my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.” Song 5:2 (NLT)
Let us respond with first putting down our own thoughts, too often far short of our Creator’s and then model and teach those around us to do the same.
Oh, God, I need You. Help me to choose to see me the way You see me and empower me to share this truth with another. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Live Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You
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