I’ve seen multiple letters written to you by women out of fear that their daughters will grow up to act like you and their sons will interact with girls who act like you. And I really really want to write this to you out of love. Because there’s no way it will be effective if it’s out of shock or hate or disgust or fear. Those things are not good motivators.
I watched the music video for your song “Wrecking Ball” last night and woah, man. You’re definitely pretty okay with showing nearly every inch of your body with the whole entire universe.*
You looked really heartbroken in your music video. And it made me so sad. Please don’t be sad. One thing all girls seem to have in common is being heartbroken over boys, be it real heartbreak, or, in my case, a little more hypothetical. I sometimes like to pretend I’m dating this Australian guy who works at my favorite coffee shop, so when I observed last week that he has a girlfriend, I was more theoretically heartbroken than actually heartbroken. But still, it’s a common denominator that underlies the hearts of all (most?) girls everywhere. We want boys to love us. And it hurts us really badly when they don’t, even when we already knew that they didn’t or weren’t planning on it.
Miley, I need to tell you something that you may or may not already know. There are super awesome guys out there who will treat you a lot better than any boy who treated you so badly that you wrote “Wrecking Ball.” I promise. I don’t personally have any specific one in my possession at the moment, but I’m friends with a lot of them and they open doors for me out of the kindness of their super sweet hearts and I really believe that you can find one. Buuuuuut that should not be your mission in life because the purpose of life is not to be dating someone! Life would be kind of lame and most of my friends would have already completed their live’s purpose if it was. Just saying. Jesus is better than a boyfriend any/every day.
I would say you’re a little out of control at the moment. A lot of celebrities have been out of control before. Remember when Britney Spears shaved her head? And I don’t even know what the deal is with Amanda Bynes. And that’s sad, but it’s more sad with you because you were always more relatable to me than they were. You’re only a year and a half older than me. I watched your show sporadically but enthusiastically (I didn’t have cable but when I was at the home of someone who did, I loved me some Hannah Montana) as a preteen and I bought like two of your songs on iTunes, which may not sound like a lot, but I rarely actually spend money on music. But I considered you worth it, Miley. One time your song, “Butterfly Fly Away” made me cry because it was so sweet with you and your dad and sometimes I love my dad so much that I cry. That was one of those times. Also I have had so many dance parties to “Party in the USA” and it is kind of a classic now as far as dance parties are concerned. I still sometimes reference “The Hoedown Throwdown” in everyday life because it’s so fun. I legitimately liked you as a person and I thought that if we ever ended up being alone in the same general vicinity, we could carry on a conversation without too much difficulty.
But then things like twerking and “Wrecking Ball” and you perpetually sticking your tongue out and “We Can’t Stop” (side note: you need to stop. Which is what this whole letter-thing is concerning; I’m just saying it nicely) and your really weird, super sassy rebellious activities all happened and I feel less of a connection to you. The thing is, I think that all of your inappropriate strange behaviors are a cry for attention, to be acknowledged as a grownup who is an artist and who is not Hannah Montana, and congratulations, Miley, you are now viewed by every person in America (and people in other places too) as a deviant, immoral, corrupt girl who does not have her act together and does not wear clothes a lot of the time. I hope that’s not what you were going for.
However, I still think we have some stuff in common. Like: we both have blue eyes and brown hair. And we’re both incredibly depraved.
I was recently thinking about how “qualified” I am as a person. I’m pretty skinny and fairly un-ugly and I love to bake and I’m academically intelligent and I’m a nice person and I do a lot of extracurriculars that I enjoy that also make me look good and I’m a genius writer girl who has revelations in the form of blog posts on a weekly basis (or at least I like to think so). But none of that means anything. It’s like Elmer’s glue that has dried onto my finger, and as soon as I peel it off, my finger doesn’t feel cool and fun like it does when the glue is on it. It’s loses its smoothness and becomes ridgy and it smells funny. Strip all of my impressive qualities off of me and I’m nothing. And I smell funny. Not ha-ha funny, but nasty gross funny. I’m no better than you and you’re no better than me; we just have different levels of paparazzi following us around.
Tim Keller says, “He didn’t love us because we were lovely; He loved us to make us lovely.”
So, no, you are not lovely. And you can do nothing to become lovely. Nor I am not lovely in the least regard. You and I are not worthy or clean (no matter how many times a day we shower or how expensive our soap is) or honest or good role models or noteworthy or upstanding citizens. We are as bad as it gets. But we are made lovely and elegant and awake and melodic and beautiful by letting Him love us. Maybe you don’t know how to let someone love you and not give anything back. I’m not sure I actually do either. It’s really hard. But I’m learning. Because “He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) All you have to do is let Him love you.
So quit this insane wild streak. Do not carry on, my wayward sister. Do not sow your wild oats. (I don’t even know what that means.) I don’t want to pretend I know you better than I do (because I don’t at all really) but I don’t think that the way you’re living right now is quite your jam. I think you need Jesus. More than that, I know you need Jesus. Because the only person who does not need Jesus is Jesus Himself.
I ride the bus from campus to my apartment because I’m stubborn and I refuse to pay money for a parking pass to drive my car to school. Sometimes I don’t get a seat on the bus, which is fine, but when I don’t, I usually end up holding on to a strap that is connected to the ceiling. I am not a very sturdy person, so when I’m holding onto those straps and the bus turns or even accelerates or moves at all, I flail all over the bus and my limbs are in everybody’s face and it’s crazy. I hold onto that strap with all of my might and I still am just quite out of control. I grit my teeth and clench that strap like it’s holding my life (because it kind of is, not to be dramatic or anything). It’s my anchor. Without it, I would probably go flying directly through the windshield of that bus and that would not be fun. The pastor at my church, David Sinclair, says to “cling to the truth of God’s sovereign grace until your knuckles are white.” And every time I ride the bus and have to grip that strap with my entire life and soul and mind and strength, I think of him saying that and I hold on a little tighter.
Here is a visual of the bus strap in case my explanation isn’t clear:
So what I’m telling you is: hold onto Jesus like He is that strap. He is the one thing that can keep you grounded. You cannot control any parts of your life, but if you do not hold onto Him, you will go crashing straight through that windshield and break your face right open and it will hurt very badly. Holding onto the strap doesn’t mean that you won’t be flounder about all over the place and accidentally whack people and drop your peanut butter jar out of your backpack while simultaneously trying to answer the phone and quiz yourself on dumb science, but it does that mean that you will not die. The tighter you hold, the more security you have and the more relief you will have when the ride (life) is over. I mean, yeah, your hand might fall off once you finally let go, but if you’re in Heaven, do you really need your hand? Yeah I didn’t think so.
I definitely don’t have any of the pressures on me that you have. Nobody (that I know of) follows me around with cameras and makes up complete lies about me to put in magazines. The things people hate about me aren’t posted on major Internet sites. There are no memes campaigning against my existence. It breaks my heart that all of that stuff exists in this world. And I don’t know what to tell you to do about that. But maybe just listen to this song for a start? When my grandmother died, I listened to it like nobody’s business. When my best friend and my not-exactly-blood-related niece moved away within a week of each other, I listened to it a lot. It always makes me feel better because, “I did not come here to offer you cliches, and I will not pretend to know of all your pain, and just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith for you. It’s going to be alright.”
You can get through this. You’re okay. I love you, girl.
PS We should totally have coffee sometime 🙂
*Disclaimer: I’m pretty out of the pop culture loop, so for me to be writing this means 1) you’re pretty culturally prevalent if I’ve heard all about what you’re up to and 2) I may be slightly pop-culturally irrelevant, so just disregard anything that doesn’t make sense.