I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there... 1 Chronicles 29:17
It has been said that the only thing we truly own in this life is our name. In many ways, that is true. When you leave this walk of life, the only thing that will be left of you is the name engraved on your headstone. What will also be left are the thoughts people think of you when they hear that name.
I have recently been doing my best to teach this to my daughter.
You are going to find that most of my blog posts go something like this: "What I learned from parenting my kids this week is...." Literally almost everything I have learned about life in the past 8 years I have learned from my kids or from doing life with them. Isn't it amazing? God gives us these little lives to take care of, and they end up teaching us more than we ever taught them! Who knew a unicorn loving, Kidz Bop listening, giggly, leaves-her-clothes-in-the-floor, back talking (because I'm keeping it real here) child could teach me life lessons? Yes, God has a sense of humor.
So my third grader is learning all about friendship these days. Suddenly there is a need to be cool. Second grade was all fun, kid-like, and easy. But not third grade. Oh no, this year we traded our Jojo Siwa sequins for Under Armour and Nike. This year, we care what people think. This year it is intense. It's funny, I don't remember MY third grade year having so much drama! *insert eye roll here* A few days ago, I learned that my precious daughter promised a friend that she would keep a secret. "That's my girl!" I thought, until she also told me that she shortly thereafter told her friend's secret to another friend.
Hold up, girlfriend! Say what?
I had a particularly traumatizing event in high school that taught me this lesson the VERY hard way (and that's a story for another day), but I immediately started trying to teach my daughter why her word and friendships are so important. I mean, I just want her to be kind, honest, and all of those other wholesome things we moms dream for our kids, right? "Your word is the most important thing you can give someone," I said. "How would you feel if someone told your secret?" I asked. I did my best to give her exactly what Jesus would say if He were standing in the room with us. We said a prayer and asked for guidance and for help in being the best friend she can be, and I sent her to bed.
It hit me like a ton of bricks later that night: we literally live our whole lives hearing lies. Satan is the FATHER of all lies, and Lord knows he whispers in all of our ears daily. He's the master of broken promises and dishonesty. And I had never really thought of my eight year old as having to battle the enemy, but SHE DOES! At her age, so many things are uncertain. So many things are changing. New friends, new school year, new insecurities. I have no doubt that Satan himself has been whispering things to her, whether she recognizes him for who he is or not.
I have learned this one thing: If Satan cannot make you become a total enemy of God, he will do the next best thing: tell you a whole bunch of lies.
"She doesn't like you."
"They are talking about you."
"Those people are jealous of you."
"You look ridiculous."
"Your spouse doesn't appreciate you."
"You aren't really even good enough to go to church."
"You have done too much bad to serve God."
or maybe even....
"Those kids will think you're cool if you tell your friend's secret to them."
No matter how old or young, we ALL hear the lies. After all, John 10:10 says the enemy comes ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy. That's his MO. It's also a Bible teaching that there is nothing new under the sun. Satan knows ZERO other tricks. If it's stealing your peace, killing your joy, and destroying your walk with Jesus, that's ole slewfoot for sure!
When you bear the name of Jesus on your life, you represent Him to the people around you. We are disciples of Jesus, meaning our job is to literally take Jesus to the world. Would a disciple of Jesus be dishonest? Sadly, in many occasions, Jesus's disciples have done just that. There are many people today that won't have anything to do with Christ or His church because someone who shouted His name in public was dishonest in private. What a tragedy.
Here's the lesson I have been trying to show my daughter, and have also been convicted to walk out in my own life as well: True integrity will cause the rubber to meet the road at times. What will we do when it costs us less to be dishonest? What choice will we make when having integrity means having to go an extra mile, pay an extra cost, or work a lot harder? Things that seem small to the world are a big deal to God.
We have to learn the difference in God's truths and Satan's lies. And we have to live them every day. Think you're too old/young/holy/anointed/grounded/Christ-like/whatever else to battle the enemy? Think again.
From now on, recognize the lies. Combat them with truth. We are HIS children, and we don't have to listen to that garbage! We can walk with integrity in all that we do.