Monday, September 10, 2018

delta! delta! delta! can i help ya, help ya, help ya?

well, southern women, we’ve somehow survived. 

another sorority rush season is in the books. we can all breath easy again and go back to our non-greek-lettered lives.

seriously, if you haven’t experienced the start of the southern school year sorority hot-mess … you have no idea what you’re missing. (in other words: count your blessings and your sanity).
it is something to behold. 
it is something to be reckoned with. 
i’m telling you, it is something else. 

and it doesn’t just begin in august or september. it isn’t isolated to one single week of rush. oh no, it consumes girls (and sometimes their mothers … and most definitely their money) months ahead—resumes and rec letters and really good outfit choices. holy moly. you wouldn’t believe the pressure this puts on the average girl. any girl. 

i’ve watched two of my own daughters go through it: one at a small christian college and one at a big SEC university. either way, i have to tell you, it isn’t all princess crowns and rainbows. sure, the system has merit, but, nonetheless, it is a flawed system. because, guess what? we are flawed people. cute, curled hair and perfectly applied lipstick aside, we are a bunch of broken, messy, mixed up humans. those peppy 18 year old coeds in their lulu lemon skirts with their non-cellulite-ish thighs might look pretty darn flawless … but, yes, even they have their ugly spots underneath all those sparkles. 

scrolling through instagram this morning, i came across a girl's picture from her bid day this past weekend. she “ran home” to a wonderful sorority and another girl left a comment on her post, claiming, “this is everything!”

and reading that comment this morning over coffee and avocado toast, my stomach kind of turned and i just knew--even though the kitchen needed attention and the grocery store was beckoning--i had to take a quick minute to tell y’all, It Isn’t. 
It Isn’t Everything. 

whether you are the girl who got into the supremely perfect sorority this month or the girl who got invited back to nothing … i promise you, either way, IT ISN’T EVERYTHING. it is one thing. it is some thing. it is a thing. but, girls, listen to me, it is not everything. and whether you got in or got left out, it is of dire importance that you understand this. 

all of us — college-coeds or middle-aged-mothers — we all need to remember, there is no group or club or sisterhood which should ever define us or determine our path. it can be a positive part of the journey, but it is definitely not the be-all-end-all of our existence. no matter how hard our image-motivated culture tries to convince us otherwise.

i’m truly not anti-greek. 

heck, a gazillion years ago, i was vice-president of my own sorority and i loved it. i think there’s absolutely a time and place for this kind of sisterhood. i loved the friends i made and the experiences we had in our greek letters, but it wasn’t everything. i can confidently say that as a greek-ish girl myself and i can say that as a mother.

sisterhood. it’s a lovely word, isn’t it? i adore the idea of it. i was lucky enough to grow up with sisters and in my (almost) 50 years God has given me countless friends who i’d definitely consider excellent sister material. i can’t tell you the greek letters they all might associate themselves with, but i can tell you these women have been instrumental in my journey as a woman. completely grateful, i simply can’t imagine life without any of them.
and, just like the friends around me, the sorority sisterhood can provide wonderful, meaningful, and very real relationships for girls away at college. that might be the best part. another positive part, is how the sisterhood can also unite together to do something wonderful, meaningful and real as well.  philanthropy plays a large role in the pan-hellenic program. my girls are both ZTAs (one at samford university and one at auburn university). the zeta tau alpha sorority ties itself to breast cancer awareness. money, time and education are provided through this relationship. of course, as a breast cancer survivor myself, i love this connection for my girls and for the thousands of zistas out there!

so, yes, good stuff. i could go on and on: fun parties, cute t-shirts, someone to eat lunch with, borrow clothes from … yep, all of that good. (well, most of that good). but, i don’t have to sell you on it. i think the sorority life does a pretty good job of marketing itself. and that’s part of the reason why it can easily become larger than life. that’s why it can quickly become “IT-IS-EVERYTHING” to so many young girls. 

but what i do feel compelled to communicate to you college girls (and your mothers too) is that you matter deeply apart from the groups with which you gather. so easily we take our identity from material things: from what we have and who we hang with; from our invitations, destinations and celebrations. it’s such a common practice, but so dangerous. most of you reading this know that at some point, we pretty much all find ourselves holding little or hovering in our loneliness. the party — like all parties — has limitations. how risky to place our identity and security in something which can quickly become nothing. 

some of you felt disappointment through the rush process. others of you might find yourself disappointed in these next months when you realize that sparkly place you “ran home to” actually does have some ugly cracks behind all that perfect rush-party decor. 

like i said earlier, it is not everything … and it is certainly not perfect. 

every year,  when this rush business kicks into gear, i'm amazed at the stories i hear from women scarred by it all. yes, women as old as me! women who 15 or 30, even 40 years later still remember the pain associated with rejection or regret. ah, ladies how can we let this happen? how can we give any group that kind of control in our lives?

yes, girls, God did design you for community. it’s a beautiful (and necessary) gift. and sometimes we must seek it. we all love the feeling of being part of something. i certainly do! but being part of something begins with being yourself and knowing that you are, first and foremost, daughters of the King. He has already crowned you. even knowing everything about you—the good and the ugly — He offered you a bid. you are His. He didn’t need to study your instagram or read a glowing rec letter to know you. Jesus, through His life and death, went to bat for you. not because you earned it or deserved it, but because He truly loves you. and i promise you, girls, that is something you can really run home to! 

He doesn’t care how crooked your smile or how perfect your style, He loves you for you. He might not cover you in archaic greek letters, but He’ll wrap you in His robe of righteousness with the already written words “loved” and “chosen.”  

greek or independent … you belong. 

you belong to Him. 

so this monday morning, whether you woke up feeling wounded or unworthy ... or even without a tribe… i want to remind you, because of Jesus, you, girlfriend, are very much wanted.

“you did not choose me, but I chose you 
and appointed you that you should go 
and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide …”  ~ john 15:16

and for a little sorority humor, because let's face it, they can lend themselves to some pretty funny stuff ... here is one of my favorite SNL skits ever DELTA DELTA DELTA