IS THAT THE GOAL?
Like dark clouds looming on the horizon, cookie season was fast approaching.
I was a Girl Scout.
No, I should rephrase that. I was actually a crummy Girl Scout.
As a little scout, my main duties seemed to be to attend meetings, earn patches and- once a year to sell as many cookie boxes as I could. But-- I never seemed to earn that many patches and I really, really hated selling cookies.
A lot of the girls were good at it. They'd get extra large patches to put on their sashes demonstrating the amazing amount of cookies they were able to sell, but I never got one of those.
I think I was just way too shy to stand up and talk about new skills that deserved a patch or go door to door to sell cookies.
So, while I loved seeing my friends at the meetings, the rest of it felt like a big flop to me.
Then one day as a good friend of mine was walking me part way home from a meeting she told me in a special, confiding, starry eyed sort of way that we could go on being Girl Scouts forever. We could be Girl Scouts through Jr. High and in High School and then grow up to be leaders of our own troops someday.
My jaw dropped. Is that the goal? I never really thought how long this torture could last!
I know- who thinks that about Girl Scouts?
And just like that I realized the direction I was headed was toward a goal that was not mine and my interest in Girl Scouting just kind of dissipated.
Maybe you've had that happen. It might be that you meet someone who demonstrates the end result of some philosophy you have been following, but when you see the eventual fruit you realize- oops. That's not my goal. And you feel like it's time to get on another road.
And sometimes it doesn't mean something as radical as switching roads- especially if you got on this road after much thought and prayer- but it may mean tweaking the compass a bit.
THIS IS NOT THE GOAL
While building our home in the country, we were living in a camper. I remember one day my mom had come to visit us.
My mom is some kind of wonderful. She is always on board with whatever crazy thing we are up to (although the living in a camper and building our own home thing was a little bit of a stretch for her).
She has never batted an eye as our family has grown and changed. She just prayed for us daily. I want to be that kind of mother in law someday too.
I remember after her visit, we went inside and closed the camper door. I was feeling happy and blessed as one of my older daughters, who was about seven, looked up at me and said:
"Grammie is worldly, isn't she?" The disappointment was evident.
"Why do you say that?" I responded.
"Well- she does have more than one earring in each ear."
My jaw dropped. This is not the goal. I could see very clearly the fruit I had been cultivating. Her Grammie was a sweet, Christian woman who had driven two hours to visit us and what was her little granddaughter concerned about? Her earrings.
One too many to be exact.
All my work to set up rules seemed to be staring me in the face. Of course, I wanted this little one to embrace our views- even our likes and dislikes. And she was anxious to jump on board. But I had created rules without also explaining Christian liberty.
So our rules-- the extra biblical standards about dress and nail polish (or lack thereof at the time); our rules about music, books and jewelry they were not just rules for us- they were becoming rules for everyone.
And anyone who didn't know our rules or was just a little different was going to be doing it wrong. No matter how much they loved and obeyed Christ.
LOVE IS THE GOAL
So, I had to ask myself. What is the goal?
I knew this was about a lot more than earrings.
It was time to teach that love is first.
Not nail polish.
Not this doll or that one.
Not pants vs. skirts.
Love is the goal.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
May you be blessed as you love,