Middle School/Jr. High
What memories do you have?
Pimples? High top sneakers?
Pegged jeans? Awkward school dances?
Braces? Large bangs sculpted into a high tower above the head made possible by cans of Aqua Net?
Oh wait….we’re not just talking about my middle school years, are we?
How Do You Look?
The middle school years are often some of the toughest years of our life. The drama, the gossip, the hormones, and fluctuating mood swings are tough enough. However, if you consider the way teens treat each other, these years can be brutal.
From when I attended middle school over 30 years ago until now, I have a feeling times have not changed too much. My 12-year-old is in 7th grade and tells me how her classmates often treat each other. She has noticed that the girls who wear low-cut shirts, a lot of makeup, and flirt tend to get more attention, both positive and negative.
She notices that the athletic students are more popular than those not athletic. She notices that the academically gifted students are treated better than others, also. My daughter also notices that those deemed ‘popular’ are treated better as well.
We tend to have these great conversations occur after doing our mother-daughter devotions. These devotions are geared specifically for preteens and mothers. Their focus is on inner beauty and learning to the loving the beautiful girl that the Lord created.
Last night after our conversation on current fashions and friendship I asked my daughter a few questions. These were a few of the questions that I asked her:
What does God see when He looks at us? He looks at what is in our hearts and how we treat others.
What do you think of the current fashions in how others may dress? “I don’t like them, especially the low-cut shirts or bra straps showing. I like to dress comfortably and I don’t what others think of how I dress”. (This is true. She has her own sense of fashion, that often leads us to shake our heads and smile.)
Out of all your friends who do you find the most beautiful? “My friend Abi. She see’s inside of people, does not judge them and puts other first. I enjoy being her friend.”
How wonderful is that, to have a friend like that? Shouldn’t we all strive to have a friend like that, and most importantly to be a friend like that?
How Does the Lord View Me?
These answers got me thinking about my own heart and what does the Lord see when He looks at me and how do I see others?
In 1 Samuel 16:7, it states, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Not only are others judged based on clothing or their looks, but we also make assessments based on the type of vehicles driven, amount of income made, what college one attends, how athletic one is, how intelligent one is, and who hangs out with whom.
The world is very shallow and places value on external things. What matters the most to the world is how important you are, how stylish you are, how rich you are, and so on. These aspects will all fade away. They lack eternal value. They are superficial. And these are not of value to the Lord.
It is important that children are being taught to see others the way the Lord does. The Lord does not see with the same eyes as man or woman. He sees past outward beauty or external ugliness into the heart. The Lord knows what lies within our hearts. Whether it be malice, anger, and evil; or goodwill, peace, and compassion. What is in our hearts can make us beautiful or ugly in His eyes.
You Can Run….but you cannot hide
We may be able to hide the true attitude of our heart from the world, but nothing is hidden from the Lord. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. Hebrews 4:13.
In 1 Peter 3:3-4 we are reminded that “Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.…” and in Proverbs 31:30-31, we are told “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
Attitudes of Your Heart
Allow me to encourage you to look at your own heart. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What are your motives?
- How do you see others?
- What does the Lord see when He looks into your heart?
- How do I judge others?
- What can I change about how I view others?
Time for Change
When you become a Christian, a part of your new creation is the development of new attitudes — your attitude should become like that of Jesus. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)
Pray about the attitude of your heart. Ask the Lord to change you from within to be more like Him. Read Scripture, meditate on His word, and allow Him to transform you.
We are created in His image. He is perfect and makes no mistakes. We need to stop placing so much emphasis on external beauty and things of this world with little value. They will fade away and with no eternal value, our perspective needs to be looking into the hearts of others. We also need to be viewing the world through eyes of the Lord.
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home