All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Photo and Graphic by Jennifer Shipman

Today I read one of those “copy and share” posts on Facebook. This one is called “Rules for My Daughter”. It resonated with me – but it also set off some warning bells. One of the devil’s greatest weapons is subtle lies: things that look good or feel good but are just a little twisted from God’s truth. As I read this list, I realized that some of the advice is really good, and Biblical. But some of it only sounds really good – especially from a worldly perspective. Held up to the Light of God’s Word, it’s not!

I do not want to treat this too lightly nor do I want to write a small novel all in one post. There are 31 things in this list! So, this will be a short series. I’ve copied out the original Facebook post below, and each of my blog posts will focus on about 5 of them. I don’t know who originally wrote this post, and this is in no way meant to condemn the author. On the contrary, I honor and respect her for loving her daughter enough to guide her in life and give her encouragement and strength. I am only saying that as believers, we must “test everything’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21) – and present a higher, God-true standard to our daughters – and ourselves!

These truths are not just for my daughter. They are for all of us – daughters of the King, our One True God! Actually? They are for God’s Sons too. I love this list. I believe we should all live it; and more than that, remember that it is true for our brothers and sisters too (believers or not) – and love them accordingly.

I challenge you today to “question everything” and hold it all up to the Bible – our only source of absolute Truth.

Rules For My Daughter

  1. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
  2. Send Thank You cards for every act of hospitality — except another Thank You card.
  3. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.
  4. Put cinnamon in your coffee and twice as much when you miss me.
  5. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
  6. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
  7. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
  8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  9. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
  10. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
  11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack your bag.
  12. Never walk through an alley.
  13. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
  14. Can’t is a cop-out. Don’t want to is perfectly acceptable.
  15. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
  16. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
  17. Never lie to yourself.
  18. Your body, your rules.
  19. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
  20. Study your curiosities and practice your passions.
  21. Ask for what you want.
  22. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work.
  23. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
  24. Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
  25. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
  26. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
  27. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
  28. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
  29. Question everything except your own intuition.
  30. You have enough. You are enough.
  31. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
1. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

God’s truth: Don’t knock it at all, and don’t try it if God says “no”.

On the surface, this is such good advice: don’t disparage something you know nothing about. But this is what I mean when I say “subtle lies”. The Bible teaches us to show grace. I believe we shouldn’t disparage anything, even if we’ve tried it an don’t like it. Now, let’s be clear: we’re not talking about sin that must be condemned; that’s something else entirely and a whole other blog post. Truth goes right along with grace. However, even sin should not be “knocked”. Too often, we do not separate the sin from the sinner. So much damage has been done to the name of Jesus be Christians “knocking” “sinners”. But again, that is another post (or ten).

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
~ Ephesians 4:29

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
~ John 14:15

2. Send Thank You cards for every act of hospitality — except another Thank You card.

Okay, so the Bible does not talk about thank-you cards. But it does talk about gratitude and hospitality. It also talks about our behavior to each other: “…but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Ephesians 5:18b-20

A few more verses on gratitude and hospitality:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
~ Colossians 3:17

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
~ Ephesians 1:16

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
~ 1 Peter 4:9

3. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.

What great advice! The minimalist movement has certainly taken the world by storm, and the Bible does speak to it, believe it or not. No, God does not say “cut the clutter” in so many words. Nor does he say material wealth is wrong. He does say it can easily keep us from a relationship with him; that the love of it is the root of evil; and that life is about so much more. Oh, and we can’t take our stuff with us.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
~ 1 Timothy 610

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
~ Luke 12:15

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
~ 1 John 2:15

…for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
~ 1 Timothy 6:7-8

4. Put cinnamon in your coffee and twice as much when you miss me.

While the Bible doesn’t comment on coffee (those poor people with no coffee…), but I’d say this is sweet advice! The principal is: sweeten up your everyday, especially when you’re sad. The Bible certainly has plenty to say on heartache, sorrow, depression, joy and comfort. I would put “cinnamon in your coffee” in the category of “lovely” things: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

This also makes me think of the act of remembrance. Christians practice communion as remembrance – to remember what Christ did for us on the cross. Perhaps adding the extra cinnamon (or whatever it is you choose to do) is also an act of remembrance? A way to honor those you love?

(Plus, cinnamon is really good for your heart. So sweeten up, friends!)

5. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.

God’s truth: It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. Then, wash your face and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.

Look, I just can’t find anything Biblical about smashing things. (Barring idols, detestable things, and enemy armies under God’s direction… but that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here.) The Bible does talk a lot about stewardship, however. We’re called to be a good steward of all you’re given. So it’s not okay to smash things. It may seem nit-picky or goodie-two-shoes, but smashing things is a waste of money. (Also, maybe not a good way to express your anger. Anger itself is not sin, but sinning in anger… is. Ephesians 4:26)

Remember, I am not bashing the author in any way – I totally get how she feels! I think I’d just replace it with punching a pillow, maybe…

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
~ 1 Corinthians 4:2

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce.
~ Proverbs 3:9

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
~ Matthew 25:21

So that’s the first five. Whew! Join me next week for more. (In fact, my goal is to start posting 2-3 times a week – you can visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – or subscribe and watch for your weekly email on Friday!)

What do you think? Leave a comment below! (Remember, be kind. It’s okay to disagree, but do it with grace. Ugly or malicious comments will not be posted.)