The Greatest Gift We Can Give to the Next Generation
Words affirm, seduce, clarify, define. They are authoritative enough to begin wars and merciful enough to end them.
But words also have power when they remain unspoken and secret. It’s a different kind of powerful, the kind with dark potential. The secret words we hear in our heads keep us in bondage.
My husband is a youth pastor, and I lead a small group of ten high school girls. They are seniors, ready to head off into the world when they graduate. And these girls desperately need me to confront the words I’m hearing in my head.
What I believe about God, the world and myself colors my life in shades more brilliant than any words I say out loud. These girls know this and can see through any pretense.
We tend to notice the girl who gets into trouble. We recognize her need for intervention. But the girl following the rules is watching us, too. She is a good test taker, a strict rule maker, a sometimes smile faker.
She is a winner afraid to fail. She wonders if she is both too much and not enough all at the same time. She is a critic, a judge, a comedian.
She wants to change the world, but she hears dark words in her head, too. And she desperately needs to know the truth.
We are not responsible to save her, correct her, or change her behavior. But we are responsible to believe. For me, this is the hardest task of all.
It’s time to hush the voices of our inner critics.
It’s time to finally see ourselves as beautiful.
It’s time to live out our belief.
These girls are begging without words for us to be confident, not with a confidence that comes from us, but a confidence that comes from Christ.
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Cor. 3:5
We are competent because of Him.
We have courage because of Him.
We are graceful because of Him.
We are ministers of a new covenant of truth and freedom.
But we have to believe it’s true first before we can earn the right to say it to them. The best thing we can do for the next generation is to deny the lying voices in our heads and believe the life-giving words of Jesus.
Then we can see them.
Then we can trust them, support them, celebrate them.
Then we can stand with them and tell them they aren’t alone.
They want to watch us believe in miracles.
Emily P. Freeman is a writer who loves to read and a speaker who would rather listen. She is the author of Grace for the Good Girl and Graceful (For Young Woman). Every Sunday night, she leads a small group of high school girls at her house where they talk about real life, real love, and the God who makes a difference.