Did you know you can be popular?

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

Most kids really want to be popular. They want people to like them and include them in what is going on.

I used to think you had to be a certain kind of person to be popular. Wear the right clothes, have the right face, be able to say cool things.

But I know all sorts of kids who are popular and really well-liked. Some are big. Some are small. Some are good- looking. Some aren't. Some have lots of money. Some don't. Since so many different kinds of kids are popular, I've decided that stuff doesn't matter. So, what does?

I'll tell you what I've figured out. Being popular means you like yourself so much that you can like other kids just as much. You're sure of your own worth - that you're really OK. That's when it's easy to share, and to include other kids in your friendship. When someone feels you really like and appreciate them, that's when they like and respect you. They want to be with you. That's more what it is that makes you popular.

So what do you do in order to like yourself? You need to know who you really are. The Bible says who we are. It says that we're who God made us, and that's just like Him.

Maybe you know that God is totally good and wise and loving. Perfect in every way. This means you have to be perfect, too. Have you ever thought of yourself as perfect? Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father [God] is perfect" (Matt. 5:48, New International Version).

Our perfection isn't in our fingers and toes - in our physical selves. It's actually the qualities of God that make up who we really are. God is wise, and He makes us wise. God is loving and lovable, and He makes us loving and lovable. God is loaded with beauty and power, and He makes us beautiful and strong. Because it's from God, who goes on forever, our perfection is also going on - forever.

In that case, when you look into the bathroom mirror, you're not seeing who you really are. But you can see who you are when you look into what God is like and see that's what you're like. When you do something good, that's who you really are. When you are happy or caring or honest, that's who you really are.

And one excellent thing is that God is constantly showing each of us how to be like Him - how to be and do good. You can just listen to hear God and follow His lead.

When Jesus said we should be perfect, it meant putting our perfection to work every day. That means letting that perfection sort of spill out everywhere. When you're with other kids, your caring (which is really from God) can bubble out as friendliness and humor and even love. Your wisdom (the ideas God is giving you) can pop out in interesting things you say. The good feelings God is giving you to share can make people feel included and valued. That's being a good friend.

There are some big ideas about how to be a friend in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." For instance, the author, Mary Baker Eddy, said that when Jesus looked at other people, he actually saw their perfection, even when it wasn't obvious at all. He saw them the way God made them. And seeing them this way healed and helped them.

You can try to do that, too. After all, if you're really perfect, the other kids must be, too. (Remember, this perfection isn't anybody's physical self or personality. It's their real, spiritual self.) When you can know this about the kids you meet, they are going to feel this. It will help them see their worth and value themselves. The kids that are the best friends for you to have will want to be with you.

It's the most natural thing in the world for you to be popular.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 (New International Version)

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