Ann Spangler

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and speaker.

Cool

a young hipster woman with cool sunglasses

I remember the day my daughter started unpacking the social dynamics of her middle-school class, listing who was in the cool group and who wasn’t. I found it interesting that most of the girls I liked best were in the latter category. Stick with them, I advised. Among them were girls who were funny, kind, fun, modest, intelligent, and sensitive. Girls who would make great friends, I thought.

Though I remember from my own middle-school days how appealing cool can be, I also remember the pressures on kids who did everything they could to be part of the “in” group, sometimes throwing their values—as well as their friends—under the bus if that’s what it took.

For many of us, the pressure to be cool still persists, though it’s not as obvious. Our kind of cool might require having the right kind of house or car. Or it might mean dressing in a particular way or having the right relationship or having children who excel at everything. It might even mean going to the right kind of church. Our need for cool stems from insecurity. Uncertain and uncomfortable about who we are, we define ourselves by what others think of us. But a lifetime of being cool won’t deliver what we want—the sense that at the core we are acceptable and lovable. That only comes as we sink our roots into God.

If the need to be cool still lingers in your life, be honest about it, asking the Lord to help you grow beyond it. Tell him you want the kind of security that comes from knowing how deeply he loves you. As you grow in that knowledge, let his Spirit release you from the constraints you have placed upon your life so you can become the wonderful, unique person God intended you to be.

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