I was sitting with a young girl who was having a difficult time paying attention. She kept lingering in distraction — those she created and those created for her. She was doing little of her assigned work, finding increasing pleasure in laziness and instant gratification. As I watched her, I saw a beautiful girl who reminded me of so many in this world: unmotivated to do anything if it doesn’t gratify or magnify self.

As I continued to attempt to assist her with the assignment, I soon realized her frustrations were more with me challenging her than with her challenging herself. She did not wish to change.

Hmm… such an epiphany.

She took a whiteboard and angled it so I could not see her work. She led meto believe she was solving a problem. Finally, I asked to see her progress. Holding the board above and behind her head, she revealed a singular design she had drawn: a halo. She gave me a big smile, pretending to be a saint.

This just brings it all together, I thought. How many people don’t wish to be challenged or welcome change? How many would rather continue idolizing self than admit they are no saint without Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2)? They look at Christians as rigid and boring beings… those who are fated to “starve” on the crumbs of the world’s gluttony, not realizing that followers of Christ are more richly nourished than the most revered earthly kings.

As the young girl used the dry eraser to wipe away the halo, I couldn’t help but ache for us all. There is nothing of or in this world that should hold us captive more than our assigned work of being eternally captivated by the Lord — in mind, body, heart and soul. Yet, oftentimes we make idols of our worries, fixate on being right, bend an ear to gossip, and find ourselves in greedy habits over everything from spending too much time on our cellphones to spending beyond our means. Yes, we make idols of our selfishness.

When I fail, I am often like the frustrated young girl. I do not always welcome the Lord challenging me and gifting me his discipline. Yet, what a gift of love his correction is when I surrender my will and realize his way always provides the correct answer. Yes, his way always provides the correct answer.

He does not desire for us to be nourished from the world’s temporary table of gluttony. No. Christ positioned himself upon a cross so that all sinners could receive a permanent relationship with his father. Christ’s unconditional love and sacrifice is true, healthy, satisfying and sustaining. And, friend, he wants to lavish his love upon us today and for eternity. May we magnify God rather than our self-made halos.

Philippians 3:18-20 says, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.”

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You).

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook. com/ tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.