Several months ago I found myself very emotional about my daughter’s season of life. I wanted so badly to guide her as she navigated her way but I often didn’t know what to do or say as she sought to find her place in this world (cue the Michael W. Smith music).
I worried that she moved around from thing to thing, never really committing to one interest or activity. I was concerned that she wasn’t investing enough in a few, solid friendships.
When I shared my concerns with a dear friend and mentor, she enlightened me with this simple observation about my girl,
“She’s trying on different things. . .like trying on clothes,” she said. “She’s looking to see what fits and what feels most comfortable.”
Her words immediately connected with my heart. I knew she was spot on. My girl is trying to find her place. Maybe yours is, too.
I love a good analogy so I’ll keep going with this one. Since that talk with my dear friend who’s gone before me, I’m learning that if we’re going to help our girls find their place in this great big world, we have to allow them time in the dressing room of life, considering what interests, activities and friendships work best for them and feel the most comfortable.
It is our privilege (and sometimes our burden) to watch this process. And it is the great dance of motherhood to learn to maneuver our relationship with our daughter as she seeks to find her own identity.
If you find yourself in a similar season, join me in remembering these simple truths about how to help our girls find their uniquely appointed place in this world.
- Be a sounding board as she gathers potential “outfits”. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to challenge her when it comes to her interests and friendships but be sure to remain a sounding board or coach, rather than a ruler when it comes to these areas of her life. (Of course, if you notice your girl making poor choices or doing something to potentially harm herself or someone else, this guideline goes out the window!)
- Give her space to try things on. Don’t hover. Don’t nag. Don’t push. Gently guide her as she tries different activities and gets to know potential friends. Step back and enjoy the beauty of your girl becoming who God made her to be.
- Affirm her when something fits well. When she connects with her “thing” or her “people”, tell her you notice how she comes alive. You may see the connection before she does. Be patient with her process but generous with your words of affirmation.
- If she’s having trouble even finding things to try on, help her browse. As subtly as possible, help your girl connect the dots between her unique gifts and the world around her. Share stories of your own journey to finding your way. If she seems discouraged, remind her that God is in the process of clothing her with his unique plan and purpose.
- Never, ever tell her she can’t pull it off. If she fails miserably at something or misses the mark with a friend, never make her feel like she’s lost. Encourage her to keep trying or gently point her in a new direction. Ask God to show her (and you) when it’s time to make a change.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
I want my girl to experience joy as she walks through her formative tween and teen years clothed with the truth of who and whose she is. In the depth of their soul, every girl simply wants to belong to something. . .to someone. When our girls know they have a safe place within our homes and a secure future with the Father, they will be better equipped to discover their important (yet temporary) place in this world.
How are you helping your girl find her place? What truths are you clothing her with?
Want to clothe your girl with the truth of who and whose she is? The Brave Girls brand is full of incredible resources to get your daughter started in discovering her beautiful uniqueness! The newest Brave Girls devo, Beautiful You is full of truth that will fill her with purpose and joy!
For older girls, try 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis.