It seems that being an 11 year old girl is really hard. I mean, there’s a lot of heavy sighing and eye-rolling to be done. You have to constantly correct people even when the situation doesn’t pertain to you in any way. And OOF! Pretending not to know what people are talking about if they don’t use the precise vocabulary you deem appropriate? Exhausting!
Plus, your parents are always intentionally making your life difficult by demanding that you call upon your God-given talents in order to properly open a box of granola bars or properly close a box of cereal. Totally unreasonable.
Folks, we have an 11 year old girl living in this house. She goes by the same name and likes the same basic things that my eldest daughter did, but she is…well, have you seen my real daughter? The one who is eager to please and amicable and compliant? She was way easier to manage than this new model, I gotta be honest.
Things irritate her these days. Lots of things. And people. And when she’s irritated, she shows it in her body and on her face and with her voice. There’s no subtlety with this one, no ma’am. If looks could kill, I’m quite certain our entire family would have been a smoldering heap of ashes as of last Thursday.
But if my looks could kill, she’d have been a heap of ashes way before she could incinerate the rest of us, anyway, so I guess there’s not really anything to worry about.
Because mama don’t play that game.
You know the game. The game where pre-adolescents and adolescents don’t actually do anything wrong so they think they can’t get in trouble. Like stomping on their way to clean their room. Or, worse, giving us the slumped-shoulders shuffle-walk when we tell them to help their sibling hang up the wet laundry. Or…well, you get the picture.
“Your actions speak louder than your words,” we say.
“Your attitude is as important as your behavior,” we say.
“Your body matters. What it does has meaning. Change your body and you’ll change your feelings,” we say.
Because it’s true. No one learns to like doing something they ought to do by never doing it. And no one learns to like doing something they ought to do by doing it through clenched teeth and with clenched fists, shoulders tense, mumbling about how absolutely unfair it is that they be expected to do this thing and how, HOW ON EARTH! could any sane person like it. Or even like being done with it enough to do it willingly to begin with.
The fact is that sometimes, well…sometimes you gotta fake it ’til you make it. Yes, plaster a smile across your face even if you don’t think you mean it. Shake out those shoulders. Stand up straight. Take a deep breath. If insert-name-of-person-who-inspires-you were here, how would you sound? Make your voice sound like that. What would you do? Do that. How would you act? Act like that. If they make a movie of your life someday, how would you want people to see you? Be that kind of person.
This is why kneeling in prayer matters. This is why bowing before God matters. This is why standing in His honor matters. Because what we do with our bodies changes how we feel in our hearts and what we think in our heads and what we say with our lips. So even if your heart and head and lips aren’t quite there yet, kneel anyway. Bow anyway. Stand anyway.
Fake it ’til you make it.
Trust me- you’ll make it.
Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their four (soon-to-be-five!) kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.