:: by Felicity White
Because I have three daughters, I often find myself shopping for little girl things. And sometimes this is frustrating for me because it appears that the clothing and toy designers of the world would like to cover you in glitter and fake fur and colored plastic, and I’d like to drench you in sensible wool or cotton instead. And I know that isn’t very exciting. But here’s my deal.
You don’t want to be glitter; you want to be gold. You don’t want to be lightweight and made of painted plastic and used to make cheap things look expensive. You don’t want to be, as one definition for glitter describes it, “used in craft projects, especially for children, because of the brilliant effects which can be achieved relatively easily.”
The truth is, brilliant effects are never achieved easily.
A real piece of gold shows this. First the gold is extracted from the ground, usually with a lot of work from deep underground mines and caves. Then it is sifted and washed to separate it from all the dirt. Then it is melted and shaped into thick bars. A jeweler takes those bars and melts them down again, this time shaping the gold into beautiful chains, rings, etc. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it. This is why we pay so much for even a small piece of gold.
This is also why we make you take piano lessons and teach you to run or dance for exercise. This is why we encourage you to be kind to your friends and respectful to your teachers. This is why we don’t let you quit because something gets hard. This is why we make you apologize when you’re wrong. This is why you yell at us and call us mean. But doing any less would be to treat you like glitter and we won’t do that because we know you are gold.
Glitter is a cheap way to try to make something look better than it really is. Glitter is used to simulate gold. I want you to be authentically awesome people, not cheap fakes. Our world, though, is steadily trying to convince us both that glitter is enough. Look at a comparison of Glitter and Gold and see for yourself:
1. Glitter is mass-produced in factories; Gold is a rare mineral found in the earth. You were created for more than boyfriends, parties, and sparkly nails. You come from the earth and are created to make it a better place. Remind yourself with the lines of this poem: “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” You are an individual and should be proud of all that means. Never do something just because everyone else thinks it’s okay.
2. Glitter has barely any weight; Gold is sold by its weight. To have a voice in this world, you’ll have to prove you have something worthwhile to say. You do that by learning and becoming an expert. You don’t have to know everything, but you should know a lot about at least one thing. You can be whatever you want to be, but be prepared to work for it if you want to do it well.
3. Glitter is cheap; Gold is expensive. It’s okay if people accuse you of being picky when it comes to men (and other major life decisions). Wait for the man (or the college or the job) who is willing to meet your standard. He should respect your parents, share your moral and faith code, promise to care for you always (and prove it now), and be your truest most faithful friend. You don’t have to give yourself away to the first guy who shows up. Be choosy. You are worth it.
4. Glitter symbolizes temporary fame or glory; Gold is the symbol of eternity. In all of this, remember where you come from and what you were made for: God himself. Your Creator, your Savior, your Friend. This life He gives is a blessing and a gift, but it is also full of pain that comes from many ages of the world rejecting this truth. Things will go wrong and you’ll have to decide how that fits in your thinking. I have a baby girl in Heaven named Ellery and, because of her, every day I remember that this life is only temporary. Someday, because I believe God is who He says He is, I’ll be in the best place ever and all the problems and troubles of this life will be gone. Until then, I use the problems of this life to make me stronger and more dependent of God’s grace. Anything here can be taken away from me (even the people I love the most); only He is a constant. I can have Him now and I can have Him then. I hold on. I hope you will, too.
The world will try to treat you like glitter, sister, and you’ll have to remind them that you are gold. Sometimes you’ll wish you could be glitter because it looks so much easier. But resist the crazy of the masses and be rare instead.
Don’t settle for the cheap ways of glitter - be real gold!
Felicity White teaches spiritual formation and literature courses at Heartland Christian College. She is also a perpetual student - always reading, researching, and connecting. She makes a home with her musician husband, Dan, and four perfectly imperfect children. She feeds the dog because it's the right thing to do. Her blog, Rare Rocks (www.felicitywhite.com), focuses on the challenging but worthwhile work of pursuing virtue and beauty even in the earthy places and phases of this life.