Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letters to My Daughters - Take a Stand

Dear Daughters,

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

I’ve heard a song on the radio lately that seems to be getting a lot of play. If I’ve heard it, you’ve probably heard it—it’s called “Some Nights.”

The first couple of times I heard the song I was kind of shocked that someone would be so blatantly honest about their “lostness.”

“Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? Oh what do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know.”

There’s a story there, and the interpretations are many (trust me, I Googled it). The meaning behind the song doesn’t really matter to me. What really stands out is that the songwriter obviously does not have a purpose in life. Over and over again he asks: “Who am I?” “What do I stand for?”

It struck me as I listened to the lyrics that these are the questions of your generation. Not just yours, of course—many generations before you have asked the same questions—but especially today, right now, many people seem to lack direction.

Quite simply, they’re lost.

Hey, I’m glad this songwriter is asking the question. Thinking through these issues is much better than just sitting on the front porch waiting for life to just come along. What’s frustrating to me about this song is that it seems like the songwriter is just waiting for someone or something to tell him what to be, what to think, what to believe.

Girls, I want you to hear this: you can’t wait for “life” to come along and tell you what you stand for. You have to decide. You don’t have to ask, “Who am I?” You have the power to determine that for yourself.

Do you want to be a person of integrity? Then be that.

Do you want to be a person who keeps her word? Then start practicing that today.

Do you want to be faithful to your husband? Then determine before you are even married that you will be a faithful wife.

Do you want to be a loser sitting on a front porch waiting for life to come along? Then do nothing, sit waiting, and you’ll be that too.

This song reflects a real sense of hopelessness, and that’s what makes me sad. It’s like the songwriter feels that he has no power. But I wonder if, really, the power has been given away—if so many of us have become accustomed to just having “life” handed to us that we’ve begun to rely on others to even tell us who we are.

Believe me, if you don’t know who you are, the world will happily decide it for you. The world will tell you that you are not enough. The world will tell you that you are a loser. The world will tell you that you aren’t worth it. The world will tell you all kinds of lies, some much worse than these.

You know this, but it bears repeating. God tells you clearly in His word who you are: chosen, beloved, cherished above the heavenly beings, forgiven, redeemed, called. There’s more—much more—but you get the idea.

There will be days when you will ask the question “Who am I?” We all have them. When those days come, run to God’s word, because therein lies the answer. Just look at the sacrifice that was made for you on the cross. The answer to the “Who am I?” question is clear: You are worth it.

God decided a long time ago who you are. You don’t need society or friends or even your parents to tell you who you are.

Once you determine that God decides who you are, then you’ll have the answer to the main question of the song: “What do I stand for?” If you are God’s beloved, chosen, redeemed by His sacrifice, and if you claim those titles for your life, what you stand for should be pretty clear—you stand for Him.

Is that an easy stand to take in these days? No. Absolutely not. And I would guess that it will become a more and more difficult stand to take in the days ahead. But if you really think about it, if you really get your head around the gospel and who you are because of Jesus, you have no other choice.

Will that stand look differently in each of your lives? I’m guessing yes. God will call you down different paths, to different careers, and to make different choices. But ultimately the decision is yours.

Will you choose to believe that you are who God made you to be? Or will you choose to believe the lies of this world?

Much different lyrics this time, but the question remains: “What do I stand for?”

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

What will you stand for?


  1. Beautiful said! Thank you!

  2. Looks like you are off to a great start. Your girls are so blessed to have you as a mom!

  3. Shelly, I want to acknowedge you for listening to the voice that asked you to write this series. beautiful.

  4. "Believe me, if you don’t know who you are, the world will happily decide it for you."

    ^^THIS!! Wow, this is said so eloquently, and I would've never thought about this being the true crux of what our daughters (and sons for that matter) need to know to be who God calls them to be in life. And, it's such a hard lesson to learn that oftentimes, some of our mistakes that need un-doing are really difficult to undo--the sooner we "get" this idea, the better. I can't wait to see what you share next!

  5. Beautiful! I love getting daughter-raising advice from you! <3

  6. Love this. (And I'm so glad I caught it on Facebook. My Google Reader and I aren't exactly on speaking terms right now.) :)

  7. Shelly,

    What a brilliant start to your series. I will be showing this to my eldest daughter.

    And you've got me completely hooked! This is great advice for ME too!


  8. Amen!
    Will read to my kinder.


    Our pastor on Sunday talked about the importance of reminding ourselves (and our kids) of who they are. He challenged us to go through the book of Ephesians and write down all the words Paul uses to describe how God sees us, and then post it in a public place so we can be reminded daily. I love that. Reminds me of the pivotal Beth Moore Believing God study. One of the tenets of faith she had us memorize is: I am who God says I am.

    I need to start saying things like this to my older kids, who are just on the cusp of internalizing it all. I'm so thrilled you linked up to The Parent 'Hood. :)

  10. Thank you! Thank you! Wonderful! I want my Sofi to read it :)

  11. Shelly this gets me fired up! I love this! You could turn this into a series!