I must admit, I did not see the VMA awards nor would I have even known it was on except for the buzz on my Facebook news feed about Miley’s performance. As I followed the links from one commentary to another about her “twerking” and “over-sexualized” performance my heart sank. As did many.
How did we get to this place in our culture that this type of performance defines entertainment?
Shrugging my shoulders, I walked away from the banter with feelings of despair. But as more and more links popped into my inbox with outraged responses over Miley’s performance, Robin Thicke’s role in it all, and compassion toward a likely disheartened father, I couldn’t help but think, “So where do we go from here?” Miley will continue to perform. Her mother will continue to applaud. Her father will continue to feel despair (or so I am assuming). Robin Thicke will do his thing. Yes, we may not be able speak into Miley’s life. We may not be able to change her mom’s perspective. We may not be able to get her dad to speak up. We may not be able to remind Robin that he’s a dad, too.
But can stop talking about the Cyrus family — and the state of our culture — and start doing life a whole lot differently instead?
Girls, will you hear me out for a moment?
Here’s the deal, girls. While many people might think Miley’s performance was totally out of whack, just as many think it is just fine, right? So the question is, where do you stand on it? What do you believe is appropriate? And why do you believe that? Do you feel compassion toward Miley or judgment? Do you wish you were her, or thank God you’re not?
It matters what you think, because that will determine your own actions, too.
See, at the heart of it, Miley is just like you. She’s a young woman whose seeking approval — of the people who fund her paycheck, of her fans who buy her products, of those whose opinions she values most. Maybe you’re looking for the approval of your friends or boyfriend, your teachers or parents.
Really, we’re all looking for approval and sometimes we will be willing to do the absurd to get it.
The one whose approval we should crave the most is our maker and redeemer — our Loving God (Galatians 1:10). But it is so hard to stay focused on seeking the Lord’s approval when the noise around us is so darn loud. See, that’s why it is so important to be reading Scripture every day, so that it becomes a part of your thinking, which the Holy Spirit can draw upon it to remind you of the difference between the Truth — the Scriptures — and your feelings. It’s not supposed to be a chore to read your Bible, but an investment into your life — like the way food is for your body, the Word is for your whole life.
It is also super important to not keep your feelings and beliefs all bottled up inside. While it is awesome to talk with friends, they often won’t have a good answer for you simply because they lack perspective. While it may seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, opening up to your parents or a mentor is really is worth your time. Your mom or dad, an aunt or a mentor, can help you figure out your feelings while helping you determine what God’s Word says about your situation. Sometimes those who love you the most — your parents — are simply are waiting for you to take the first step toward them with a willingness to share you heart? So will you do that today? How about sending them a link to this post as a way of letting them know you’re interested in talking about what’s on your heart?
Moms, may I challenge you?
I know I’m only a mom in the trenches of raising teens, but I’ve been doing this mentoring-teens-thing for more than 16 years and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. By God’s grace, I’m also seeing fruit in my own girls lives (Matthew 7:15-20 NLT), which is why I want to encourage and challenge you to step into your teen’s world in ways that may simply feel strange but is oh-so-needed!
When I asked my girls if they heard about Miley’s performance in school, my older daughter confessed that she saw it online in the news, which made me so so so glad I brought it up. But hear me, I give credit to the Holy Spirit for prompting me to do so because my natural inclination was to “toss up a hope and prayer” that the girls wouldn’t have heard a thing.
Don’t we often feel that way — hoping that the ugliness of our world can just be ignored and not touch our kids.
It doesn’t happen that way. We have to engage in the uncomfortable conversations to bring about the Truth.
So I did the unlikely with my girls and we chatted about Miley’s choices as well as the responses of their peers. We discussed the hows and the whys, wondering what’s next. While our private commentary won’t change Miley, her parents, or the culture, it might very well change my girls. As we were processing life out loud together, my girls were learning a biblical truths about influences, making decisions, determining wise paths, and reaping consequences.
Moms (and dads, if you’re reading this), so would you be willing to do the same? Would you be willing to take the time to strike up a conversation with your tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings today to find out what they think of Miley’s behavior and offer them some grace and truth lessons in response?
I’m urging you as one who sees what they need.
Will you please slow down long enough to listen to your daughters? Will you push aside your looming to-do list to hear the hearts of your boys? Will you make time to process out loud the noisy world of information coming at them each day? Even if it is uncomfortable. Even if you don’t have all the answers. Please engage in their lives with your eyes and ears, your hearts and hands.
This generation of tweens and teens and twenty-somethings desperately need adults — especially their moms and dads — speaking TRUTH into their souls.
As moms and dads, we’ve been appointed by God to steward their lives well, which means you have the right to communicate truth with grace. I’ve heard it said that truth with out grace is condemnation and grace without truth is compromise. Find the middle ground and be bold as you teach the Scriptures — a book of God’s love filled with wisdom words.
So will you give them what they need?
1. Will you give them your time?
2. Will you give them your listening ear?
3. Will you give them God’s Truth?
4. Will you give them a picture of His grace?
5. Will you give them your love wrapped in His?
Don’t misunderstand my urgings as a guarantee or promise that you’re kids will turn out “just fine.” Your children, and mine, have a free will. It is up to them to decide the path on which they will walk (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT). But by God’s design, we have a part to play in their lives — like road signs and guard-rails. We may not be able to prevent them driving off the side of the cliff, but we can certainly offer the warnings they need to make the right decision on their own. And if they go off course, we can at least receive them back with the truth and grace God gives us daily, even if consequences must pan out. But this is the type of redemptive love that inspires new beginnings.
Would you be willing to reach out to your mom, dad, or a mentor, and share your heart with them today?
Will you give your tween, teen, or twenty-something what they need today — and will you start with opening the door to a much-needed conversation?
Whose life do you need to speak into today? Is it a girl? Or maybe even a mom of a tween or teen?