Saturday, September 24, 2016

Don't Go Changing...

I wrote this piece seven school years ago about these awesome young ladies! I miss them!

If you are a student in my classes, you know I think Jessica Alba is beautiful. So, when a headline popped up with her name on it last week, I had to look. It seems a young lady in China is desperate to win back the affections of her boyfriend. Her former significant other is obsessed with the American actress and apparently thinks and speaks of little else. The young lady, whose name is Xiaoqing, has seen plastic surgeons, intent on making herself, as much as possible, look like Ms. Alba. To her credit, Jessica, through the media, has made overtures to Xiaoqing, imploring her not to go under the knife just to satisfy the whims of her ex. And being that Jessica's ethnic background is a mixture of Danish, French Canadian, and Mexican-American, I am guessing an exact double is out of the question.

You might have noticed the two young ladies at the top of this entry. Their names are Taylor, in front, and Jeannie, respectively. They are sophomores in my sixth period Gospels class and they are sweethearts; young ladies like these two are jewels. We have a quiz-memory verse-test- writing assignment each period so they are turning in something to me every day. I'm not sure how it began but Taylor and Jeannie started writing lyrics to songs they like on the outside of all their papers. It might be the chorus, a whole verse, or just a line and their preferences in style are wide ranging. I have to admit that often I don't know the song they reference but I always put their papers to the side and read their musical treatise when I have made it through all the others. It's become part of our relationship as teacher-students and it may seem silly but education is founded on countless of these interactions. Several weeks ago, either Taylor or Jeannie left the words of an Ingrid Michaelson song on their paper for me to ponder. I don't know much about Ms. Michaelson but the last phrase in each chorus is rock solid:
You take me the way I am. 
Too bad Xiaoqing can't share those sentiments with her boyfriend.

One thing we constantly note in my classes is the ease with which Jesus interacted with the lower echelons of society- the tax collectors, the sexually immoral, the physically afflicted, the poor. Part of His appeal had to be based on His willingness to accept people at their point in life. Needed changes would come by their proximity to the Savior. Sometimes, a miracle of healing intervened with a broken body and spirit but more often, the love the Christ showered on the unlovely and the unloved evoked a new life. As believers, we should be repulsed by sin but not by sinners; a quick look in the mirror would cause revulsion if we did. I wish all my students were like Taylor and Jeannie, but they're not. At least, they aren't there yet. Change is gradual and the most lasting change does not come from a surgeon's scalpel. It is born from the touch of the Master's hand.

To hear Ingrid Michaelson sing The Way I Am, please click the link below:

Applicable quote of the day:
“There's no such thing as a perfect guy. I think it would be strange if somebody was absolutely everything you always wanted, because then there'd be no challenge. Also, you'd feel inferior.”

Jessica Alba

God bless,
Luke 18:1
me at


Jenny Parish said...

I love the title of this post... and think the whole song is relevant... (here is the first part of the song for those who might not know it):

Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before.
Don't imagine, you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore.
I would not leave you, in times of trouble
We never could have come this far.
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times,
I'll take you just the way you are.

I think feeling comfortable with yourself CAN be something that comes with age and life experience. Some people still never reach that point. I feel for the girl who is trying to change herself for someone else. Yet, part of me understands that too. She just wants to be accepted and loved... don't we all? As I was writing the song lyric above (thanks Billy Joel) I was thinking about God singing it to us... He DOES love us just the way we are... HE loves everyone, no matter what... the sinners and the saints (to paraphrase another Billy Joel song). What the girl is looking for is a relationship. Isn't that really what we all want? And isn't that what God wants too? A relationship with us... if only we can all realize that we are already good enough, and HE loves us... just as beautiful and messy and human as we are.


God has gifted you with some great teaching skills. The children that are under your ministry are truly blessed.

Keep up the good work for Christ,


gayle said...

Young girls and lots of women have a hard time with the way they look!