Too ‘Cool for School’ !

I was driving along the other day, lost in the SiriusXM 60’s, singin’ my little heart out when it hit me — there were some great songs in the Sixties! Not only that, but I remember most of them (yes, I’m old!) AND can still sing most of the words to them too! When I hear “Henry the Eighth” by Herman’s Hermits or “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, I am transported back to the moments in time when that’s all that was on the radio and a record player was the most important thing a teenage girl could have – outside of her lifetime subscription to “Teen Beat”. It took me back to the time I spent summers with my cousin. She was so cool and even cooler because she let me hang around with her when she was here from *gasp* KANSAS CITY!!!  She was two years older than me and, every summer, I would spend a few weeks with her then she would come down and spend a couple of weeks in Arkansas. We had so much fun (good, clean fun) and, hearing those songs reminds me of that fun and those days. I get warm and fuzzy just thinkin’ about it!

As I mentioned before, she was the epitome of cool and I wanted so much to be just like her, it wasn’t even funny. Ever have anyone like that in your life? I wanted my natural curly hair to be straight as a string like hers so, we IRONED it. I wanted long fingernails and beautiful hands like hers so we glued artificial nails on top of my chewed-off ones. (Yes, I was a nail-biter, except for the two or three weeks when cousin Dolly was around!) I wanted to wear what she wore and talk like she talked. I remember the first thing I would do when my folks drove me up there to stay with her was to ask her what the “cool” word was. Yep, can you believe it?!? After the usual hugs for my Aunt Pat and Uncle Beau, our first conversation would be the most important one. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Me : “Well, what’s the cool word?”

Dolly: “Um, let me see. This summer, we are all saying ‘Neato Frito’ up here. Isn’t that funny?”

Me: “No, I think it’s cool. Neato Frito, huh? Cool.” (I used that a LOT!)

The rest of my summer vacay was spent ironing my curly hair, keeping those darned fingernails glued on and saying, “Neato Frito!”at every possible opportunity.

Now, I know that sounds really stupid and, you’re right…it was, but I was only thirteen or fourteen at the time and so desperate to be “in”, “with it” and “cool”. You remember what that was like? I sure do. Geeesh!

The point of this rambling? As I was singing at the top of my lungs in the car the other day, remembering those days gone by, it dawned on me that, although we were pretty good girls and never did anything much worse than randomly dialing people and pulling my Chatty Cathy doll’s string then laughing uncontrollably, it could’ve gone the other way. Oh yeah, it could’ve. And, in my delirious quest to be “cool”, I could’ve gotten into a lot of trouble and become something/someone other than what I am today because there is still a thing called “free will” and our precious heavenly Father will never make you go somewhere you aren’t willing to go freely. Is it the same for you?

When you stop and really let the reality of that statement sink in, it’s quite sobering. I had no concept or clue of God’s perfect will for my life, let alone the desire to follow it. This is not a dis on my mom or dad (hey, they did the best they could!) but I was thinking about the precious young mother I talked with in church last Sunday morning. She was so stressed out about making sure she was doing everything right for her kids, that she was runnning herself crazy. They are all active in their respective church cell groups,  all healthy and involved in a few sport activities and, most importantly, have all had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I’m thinkin’ to myself, What in the world is she so worried about?!? but I got it later, after I’d had time to think. She wanted her kids to be all they could be — FOR THE LORD. She wants their lives to matter for the Kingdom and for them to grow up to understand their identities in Christ; to know who they were and what they stand for. I know these kids and I can tell you truthfully that they don’t worry about being “cool” or if they’re members of the “in” crowd or not. They are living as their parents are teaching them to live (for what’s REALLY important) and, even though they’re not my kids, that makes me so proud, I want to cry!

The takeaway? Some of us “boomers” may not have started out on the right track but the important thing is that we are running on it now! It’s not about what’s “cool” or “in” for us but what we know is right in the sight of the Most High God. That’s a tall order every single day but, by now (hopefully), it’s becoming somewhat easier. As things heat up in the political arena with the upcoming elections and every single day someone wanting to fuss and fight about something (chicken sandwiches come to mind?), more and more, we are becoming a nation divided; the tolerant, politically correct vs. people that love Christ. I know, I know…there are stone-throwers on both sides and that hurts my heart but my point here is that we need to know WHAT we believe and WHY. If you believe that Jesus was God’s only Son, sent here to die a cruel death on an old rugged cross so that your sins would be forgiven and your slate wiped clean (John 3:16), then you surely must also believe that we are instructed to live in the world but not be conformed by it (Romans 12:2)

Father, You remind us that we are to be salt and light to this world so today I pray that You will help us love without hypocrisy. I pray that we will abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. I know that, to love You and live for You is not always popular but help us to see that it does not matter, then help us be strong in our convictions and teach them to our children and grandchildren.

I thank God that I don’t care if I’m cool anymore – just grateful I’m unconditionally loved and mercifully forgiven .