Like everyone else in the world, I’ve been holed up with my family for more than a month. For kicks, my teens and tweens started listing phrases they hear me say over and over. It seems my mere presence is entertaining. Some phrases were funny, some conveyed that I really like peace and quiet, and others I hope take root and stay with my kids every day of their lives. A few of our “what Mom always says” favorites are (it might be helpful if you read these with a twang):
“Read good books and listen to wise people.”
“You are on assignment. This is not our home.”
“I’m gonna put on my lipstick and then we’re gonna leave.” (They haven’t heard this one in quite some time, but it used to be a daily – even multiple times a day – occurrence that let them know just how much time they had to get to the car.)
“Good night!” (Not merely when they are going to bed, but this is my catch-all exclamation heard ‘round the clock, i.e. “Good night, this room is a mess;” or “Good night, this is the best peach cobbler I’ve ever tasted!”)
“Be above reproach.”
“Let’s do this well.” (“This” can be a disagreement with a friend, a conflict with a sibling, whatever the struggle is, I implore them first to think about what it would look like to do it well.)
“Walk like you’re somebody.”
It’s the last phrase – “Walk like you’re somebody” – that I want to focus on as we linger in a world-wide crisis. When I say this to my kids, I’m usually trying to correct their posture and what their body language is conveying to a watching world. I’m letting them know that without speaking a word, their posture tells a story about what they believe.
And they know the “somebody” they are. My kids heard rumblings in utero and every day since that they are image bearers, made to look like their Father (Genesis 1:26-27); they are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14); they are created to do good works (Eph 2:10); and dearly loved (1 John 4:19). There is no mistaking they are “somebody,” and I want their posture to convey that message.
When school was canceled in March (for what we thought would be a two-week shut-down); when toilet paper started disappearing from usually well-stocked shelves; and when phrases like “social distancing” and “shelter in place” started to become our reality, the first thing I talked to my kids about was their posture.
That’s right, we had a talk about their posture as we face an uncertain future in the hands of our known God. We laid the groundwork with what we know to be true: God chose us as His own (Eph 1:4); He created us especially and specifically for this moment in history (Acts 17:26); and to borrow another phrase from above, we are on assignment, this is not our home (Hebrews 13:14). With those truths in mind, I urged our kids to pick up their chins, roll back their slumped shoulders and walk straight into what the Lord has prepared for us. We may not know what is going to happen, but God does, and He chose us to be His ambassadors during a world-wide crisis. What an honor. None of our plans have been ruined, they’ve been revealed.
In addition to discussing “mom phrases” we’ve discussed our heroes in history who also had to put their shoulders back and persevere when the time period seemed bent on destruction. We discussed champions like Joan of Arc, George Washington, Corrie ten Boom, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rosa Parks*. Each one of these giants stood up straight and walked into the destiny the Lord marked for them. None were accused of cowering as they faced insurmountable odds unique to their time in history (and some never saw, on this side of Heaven, their impact on our world).
I have conducted self-checks of my own posture as we collectively go deeper into this world-wide crisis. My family has already lost more than we imagined when this all started. I’ve had to continually check my posture as bad news dominates the headlines and walks through my front door. I’m tempted to let fear well up until I’m in the fetal position, but then I remember, Hebrews 10:39, “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
No, we are not of those who shrink back. Instead, we are given clear directives for our posture:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (1 Corinthians 4:10).
No, we are not going to hang our heads or clench our fists or close our eyes until it’s all over. We’re going to stand tall, put our shoulders back, chin up and march forward. For some, faith was just a theory until recent weeks. It’s time to put into practice what we’ve preached and follow Him, not fear.
Now, walk like you’re somebody and let’s do this well.
Dear Lord, we know You love us, and we trust You. Thank You for saving us regardless of what happens on this Earth. Thank You for trusting us with Your message. Lord, we pray that we would not shrink back from this time for which You designated us to step up. Please forgive us for clinging to comfort when You’ve called us to so much more. Lord, help us to put our shoulders back and walk in the path You’ve charted for each person reading this. I can’t say it enough, we love You and we trust You. Amen.
*Each of these heroes is profiled in the books 7 Men or 7 Women, both by Eric Metaxas. Our family is re-reading aloud both books during quarantine to remind us of those whose posture made indelible marks in history.