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Loving Boldly Is Not Cheesy

I once took my teenager aside as she was preparing to sing a song onstage.

She was visibly nervous, so I generously said, “What you're about to sing doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter if you hit all your notes or not. You're awesome, and if you let everyone see the awesomeness God put into you on the inside, then you're going to rock this.”

It flowed out of me so naturally.

Years of watching TV parents in sitcoms give loving, motivating speeches to their kids finally paid off.

I could hear Hallmark knocking at my door to quote me in their next card.

But then...

she looked at me and said, “Wow... that was cheesy.”

I wasn't sure what to do next.

I was embarrassed.

It felt like we were suddenly freeze-framed into a comic strip panel where I stood straight-faced as her words hung in the air through a speech bubble that wouldn't go away.

This is probably where I tell you what I said next to tidy things up.

Instead, I'd like to invite you to hang out with me in the awkwardness of this moment. 
  • Have you ever had something like this happen with your own teenagers?
  • Have you ever had something like this happen between you and God?

Our Heavenly Father is radically and exponentially generous in His love for us.

His words are always relevant, offering things we need to hear that only He is able to say.

Still, don't you sometimes find yourself at times rolling your eyes at Him?

Maybe you've even thought, "Wow... that was cheesy."

Most of us wouldn't own up to this.

Others may not even be aware of it.

It's more of an unconscious thing we do with the profound things He said, did or does for us.

As we read about it in the Bible or hear it in a sermon, we smile... nod our heads... and "agree."

Are our ears hearing but our hearts too often shut down to receiving?

It's as if we're suddenly freeze-framed into a comic strip panel where we sit straight-faced as His words hang in the air like a speech bubble that doesn't go away.

Watch it happen as you read the following truths:

  • God loves you so generously that He gave you the freedom to choose or reject Him. And rejecting Him doesn't stop Him from loving us.

  • Jesus chose to leave the realm of eternity and enter into the realm of history, all to take on the penalty of your sins through His own life. He confronted death with His own death. He provided your resurrection through His own Resurrection.

  • The Holy Spirit longs to live within you... and if He already does, He longs for you to let Him lead the details and direction of your life so you can face each day with purpose and power.

  • The Church invites you in... not merely as an attendee, but as an active part of the Body who can comfort and be comforted... reconcile and be reconciled.

Did any of these words of Life undo you and remake you?

Or did you instead just endure them, as if to say, "Wow... that was cheesy."

If you're not letting the words and truths of God move your heart, why should you expect the words and truths you offer your kids to move them?

When I was a teenager and new to church, I heard my pastor share three action steps every family member needs to practice. It was so simple, yet so profound, that I remember it to this day:

  • A look: As you begin to see yourself as God sees you, you can more easily see others as God sees them. Gaze into them with the love of Christ through your full attention. Put your phone down, turn off the music or TV and look your loved ones in the eye, unashamed in your love for them.
  • A word: Think about the last time you were generous with your words beyond a quick “Thanks.” Tell others something significant and intentional that acknowledges what they mean to you, such as “I can’t believe how many of my best memories involve you," or “There’s this one area of your life that I really want to learn from. You're legitimately one of the smartest people I know when it comes to this.”
  • A touch: Ever notice how we don't enjoy touching things we think are gross or filthy? When we reach out and put our arm around someone who is feeling worthless and unlovable, we communicate to them that they are not those things but quite valuable and unique.

Sure, all of this might come across as a bit cheesy. You'll at times watch both teens and adults roll their eyes.

Do it anyway.

Love boldly.

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