A Jedi and Jesus

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My best friend, let’s call him Yoda, recently left the States for long-term missions work. This is great news for the Kingdom and those he’ll be ministering to, but terrible news for selfish, little, old me. I know he’ll be safe and, just as important, effective, but I’d just rather have him here; at least just a few nights of the week maybe. Perhaps he could get a private jet or simply evangelize on public Skype channels. But no, he had to leave. It’s something I understand, but don’t like. Yet in light of it, we both seem to agree that neither of us want to be forgotten and so we’ve insisted on setting up little reminders throughout our lives; small tokens and mental notes that usher a sense of each others presence. He’s only been gone for two weeks, but our memories are living strong. Though I’ve begun to wonder. What if he were gone for over two thousand years?

At the possibility of my best friend forgetting me, I catch a mere glimpse of the pain, frustration, and longing Jesus could feel for those of us He’s reconciled. How many reminders of Himself has He placed throughout my day that I fail to give attention to? How many times can I pledge to Him my heart on Sunday, with barely a trace of commitment found on Monday? Is ignoring His Word and prayer much different than ignoring my best friend’s emails and text messages?

I believe it is simply communication that could strengthen mine and Yoda’s long-distance relationship. And just the same, the absence of communication could destroy it. In my relationship with Jesus, this begs the question: Is my level of communication strengthening or destroying the relationship I enjoy with my Creator? He has, after all, promised a return.

Convincing a Princess

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I have two little girls and I can’t tell you how many princess crowns I’ve purchased from the dollar store. They are a must have, of course, but oh, so fragile. A delicate hand offered to help them up the staircase to the playroom; very dainty, pinky-lifting cups of tea; and ballroom dances through the dining and living rooms are weekly demands when living with a couple of princesses. I am their Prince Charming. It is a weighty position that I take very seriously.

On the heels of teaching at a junior high summer camp in California, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of teenage girls who are convinced they’re not beautiful. I’ll say that again. They’re convinced they’re not beautiful. I pray that statement breaks your heart.

Each morning, I’m told, they do their best to mask their perceived flaws, adorn their desired style and hope for the best. Throughout the day they’re able to catch glimpses of themselves in window reflections and bathroom mirrors, but are usually left unsatisfied by what they see. They walk away frustrated, sometimes embarrassed for trying, and often depressed.

I know the typical thing to do at this point in an article is to place blame on our society or our churches for our cultural obsession with outward appearances, but I’ve vented about that before. There’s also the incredibly true, yet incredibly useless argument of real beauty being on the inside. I mean, c’mon. A girl wants to be both outwardly and inwardly beautiful. So, instead I want champion the cause for the world convincing these young ladies they. are. beautiful.

So how is that done without being a creep? Good question. As a dad of two, I cycled through what I’d consider appropriate. Here are some ideas.

1. Eye contact. When talking with them, look them in the eyes with a smile. It’s incredibly rare believe it or not. And it conveys respect, focused attention, and an appropriate pleasure in the discussion. Don’t underestimate the power of this one!

2. Chivalry. I know we’re no longer in the middle ages, but girls still appreciate being treated like a princess. And it goes a lot farther than we think. Repeatedly opened doors, kind words, and genuine offers of help begin to convince a girl she’s valuable, individual, and beautiful. My daughters thoroughly enjoy the tagline, “Your majesty.” 

3. Words. This is a delicate one, I know. But relationship grants access. Depending on your relationship, your access into there life, pour truth into them. If it’s appropriate, tell them they are beautiful. Constantly. Annoy them with it.

Let’s convince them that regardless of what they’re told elsewhere, what they think or what they feel, they. are. beautiful.