Today I listened to my daughter share a story about an encounter with a girl at school. As we talked it through I was grateful that as a 12 years old girl, she has a mum and dad who are a safe place for her. This was hopefully a once off encounter and experience but it has the potential to unravel her confidence and make her second-guess who she is and how she responds to others. Short story is she had overheard a girl in her class talking to her older brother, not realising Brooke could hear her. It was simply the comment ‘your sister is so annoying‘. Brooke stepped from behind the wall and the girl quickly apologised as she knew she had been overheard. I am not sure why this girl would want to even say this and what she hoped she would achieve by telling Brooke’s brother. I hate to think what he would have done if Brooke hadn’t appeared at just the right time. He is navigating his own journey in an environment that as yet has not required him to be courageous and smart enough stick up for someone. Despite the apology, Brooke was feeling a little frustrated and needed some wisdom on how to deal with this girl in the days ahead.
Should she be wary?
Should she ignore it and accept the apology as authentic and real?
Should she be careful how she acted and tame down her vibrant and outgoing ‘ annoying’ personality?
If others think she is ‘annoying’ are they right?
It can be hard to know how to navigate friendships and relationships in a new environment. It can be hard knowing how to find a path of confidence without being completely obnoxious. Twelve is a hard age, as there is often little wisdom in knowing the social boundaries of self expression. As a girl in a world where we are told not to be too loud, too strong, too opinionated or too bossy…leadership and personality can be easily misinterpreted as arrogance instead of confidence and brash instead of vibrant. Brooke’s Dad wisely reminded her that she would not be everybody’s cup of tea and that that is ok. He encouraged her to accept that other people are not her cup of tea either and to be ok with who she is and not change in order to be liked and accepted. If she is desperate for others to approve of who she is, she will always disappoint someone or lose who she is, to fit in.
Today as I read Acts chapter 5, where the Sanhedrin who are getting extremely annoyed and offended by the apostles. It’s not the first time. W find them them trying to silence them and the story mentioned putting them to death. God supernaturally give them the opportunity to go right back to what he has called them to be. Peter gives a profound statement in response o being silenced. ‘We must obey God rather than man’.
Brooke is not even preaching the gospel and she is feeling the need to push her vibrant outgoing personality into a box that fits someone’s image. This scripture has been my challenge today but it also spoke to me about Brooke. If she makes the opinions and instructions of others more important than the opinions and instructions of God she is going to lose her identity and struggle to find it again. She needs to care more about pleasing God than pleasing others. She may not be everyone’s cup to tea but she is always God’s ‘cup of tea’. Brooke has this understanding that God loves her and created her uniquely. This sense of self awareness and value that she has about herself gives her a sense of self confidence which I love. If she listens to the opinions of others, their words to bear weight on who she is, God’s voice will diminish and confusion will set in. I want his word to bear weight so that words like ‘annoying’ carry no weight.
We are no different. The enemy want us silenced and he wants us to second guess what we do. Peter’s words help clarify how to repond. Teaching Brooke from a young age to please God and only God and be okay when she doesn’t please others is a lesson I wish I had learnt at her age. How does Peter’s words impact on me: ‘We must obey God rather than man’ Acts 5:29
My next conversation will be about how to to extend grace to this girl….but that is a conversation for another day…