I'm excited to kick off today's post with a guest!
The following post is a guest blog post by a new acquaintance of mine whom I met through my FB critique group, author Allia Zobel Nolan. She was very gracious in sending me a copy of her new book, Whatever: Livin’ the True, Noble, Totally Excellent Life, published by Zondervan. (The Kindle edition of Allia's book is just $4.27 on Amazon.) Allia can be found at: www.AlliaWrites.com
Isn’t He Lovely?
I recently canvassed a youth group of tweens for a devotional I was writing. I wanted to get their opinion on a certain word. “Okay, guys,” I said, “How many out there use the word “lovely?” Extra points if you can give me an example. No smart phones, please. Brains only.”
Blank stares, then sniggers.
Okay, so lovely isn’t a word young girls hear that often—much less use in conversation. Oh, a girl might catch her grandmother calling a summer’s day lovely. But, she wouldn’t tell her bff the pair of five-inch heels with spikes she just bought are lovely. They may be cool, awesome, or totally hot. But lovely….nah.
Maybe, I thought, we can get some comments if I find out what they think isn’t lovely.
So I said, “Let’s try it this way: So was Miley Cyrus’s twerking gyrations at the VMA awards, well, were they lovely?”
“No,” my test group answered. (That’s a good start, I thought.)
“Okay, okay, then, what if you saw a girl walking down the street with short shorts on, and you could see more flesh than shorts, could you say she looked “lovely?”
“Ah… no,” the group replied. (Two for two, I thought.)
“Okay, guys,” I said, “What about a reality show that has brides throwing tantrums and cursing? Brides are supposed to be lovely aren’t they?” I said. “So, by association, maybe we can call that show lovely?”
“Nooooooo,” they all screamed. (Wow, now we’re cooking.)
“Okay, so we know what’s not lovely. So what is lovely?
“Something’s that lovely,” said one girl sauntering in with her head in her smart phone (she wasn’t in the room to hear me ban them) is ‘something that…or someone who…inspires love,’” she said, giving us all the proper definition.
“Spot on”, I said. “Can anyone give me an example? Who is lovely? Who inspires love?”
“Justine Timberlake,” A.J., a girl in the back, shouted out. Laughs all around.
“Not exactly who I was looking for,” I said.
“Jesus,” one girl offered in a voice so low it was like a breath. “Jesus inspires love…doesn’t he?”
“Bingo,” I screamed, a little louder than I anticipated.
“’Lovely’ describes Jesus in every sense of the word,” I said. Anybody know why?” (I was really reaching now.)”
“Well,” said one girl, “Jesus died for us. He took our punishment. That inspires love, doesn’t it?”
“You bet,” I said, “Jesus was his loveliest on the cross. Because he poured out all his love for us and made us lovely to God.”
“Wow, I never thought of it that way,” one girl blurted out.
“Okay,” I said. “Well now at least we know one person who is lovely; who inspires love. Want to know some others?”
“As long as it’s quick,” A.J. yelled out. The group cracked up.
“Well, A.J., I’m here to tell you: YOU are lovely, and the girl next to you, and everyone in this room is lovely in God’s eyes.
“And that’s why we owe it to Jesus to act lovely,” I said. “Take our cues from Jesus…not from stars, reality shows, books, and stuff like that—which is anything but lovely.”
“So no Miley Cyrus gyrations,” A.J. said. Again the group laughed. “But, hey,” she said, “I think twerking’s pretty gross anyway.”
“Glad to hear it A.J,” I said, as the group dispersed.
“Oh, and Allia,” A.J. said, taking the last word. “Thanks. This was lovely.”
Allia Zobel Nolan is author of WHATEVER:LIVIN’ THE TRUE, NOBLE, TOTALLY EXCELLENT LIFE, a tween devotional book. (The blog above based on page 180.)
My 13yo. daughter is currently enjoying reading Allia's book. Thank you so much, Allia, for allowing me to have you as a guest on my blog today! (Isn't the 'net great?! We got together and didn't even leave our houses.)