Affirmation

While at junior high winter camp this past weekend, I had a good conversation with one of our female students about technology and self-esteem. It began with her complaints of not having her cell phone to get text messages from her friends as she normally would on any other Saturday morning. She self-identified her stages of withdrawal from texting, which started at denial, traveled through stages of confusion and anger, and ended with utter frustration.

As she went on and on about not having her phone, she kept making statements about how ‘ugly’ she looked this particular morning. Being the good people they are, the other female campers said that she looked great. Being the curious youth worker I am, I asked her (in a round-about and somewhat lengthy way) why she needed to rely on her phone, specifically text messages from friends, for affirmation about the way she looks and acts. After the shock that I could be right wore off, the conversation took a different road as the camp staff dismissed us to the food line.

Later that day, our small group discussions took us to places that could further dig into the questions: from where do I seek belonging? and how do I get fulfillment? I’m afraid that I sometimes go to the same kinds of places that this eighth grade girl goes to find belonging and fulfillment, but the ultimate desire of our hearts comes from Christ.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV, 2010)

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