This is me in high school… my senior year. I know some of you are laughing because you think I look the exact same. Oh, well. Ha! Co-Captain of the Cougarette dance team, member of the National Honor Society, member of the National ART Honor Society, President of the Hands In Motion Sign Team/ASL Club, proud member of The Clique (my best friends), and other stuff that no one cares about now. My boyfriend was the quarterback of the football team/pitcher on the baseball team.
I was a member of Clearview Baptist’s youth group… I mean I did EVERYTHING a youth grouper does – Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings, D-now weekends, camps, mission trips, hang out nights, wore the t-shirts, had the CDs, did the Bible studies, and everything in between. BUT… my heart and life didn’t always follow through with what I KNEW was truth.
If you ask my husband (who knew me well in high school), he’ll tell you I was a mean girl… like A Plastic… who just looked out for herself, put herself in bad situations, was a cleat-chaser (don’t appreciate that one) and ignored what was right. He’s pretty much right.
Now… don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed high school! I loved Friday night lights and dancing on the football field, I loved long talks about boys with friends (The Clique), I lived for beach trips and new adventures, I had a blast at dinner dates with friends, and I loved life! BUT… it I could have been so much more. I could have loved my friends more, cared for them better, and spoke the Truth of the Gospel to them. I missed a lot of opportunities. I could have stepped out of my “mean girl” mentality and loved the people around me… I could have paid less attention to my status and reputation and more about how I was treating others.
My heart was in a battle with itself for my entire high school career. I knew… deep down who I wanted to be, but it was easier and more fun to go to parties, get attention from boys, make REALLY dumb decisions, and not talk so much about that “Jesus” stuff. I’m sure if you asked my youth pastor/Bible study leader about me during that time, they would have answered the same way I do about the girls I so love and cherish, “I JUST WANT TO CHOKE HER!”
I knew they got frustrated with me… but my identity was so wrapped up in who I wanted to be in others’ eyes I didn’t know what to do. I wanted people to think I was pretty, skinny, talented, worth it, enough… actually, if I’m honest… I wanted people to think I was THE prettiest, skinniest, most talented, etc. And I was miserable at times… because I could never live up to it. I remember countless Wednesday nights in the youth room during worship… just broken because I was literally living 2 lives. I knew what God was calling me to be… but I couldn’t surrender. I was stuck living a double life… trying to be a “Super Christian” when I was inside the church doors… and trying to live up to the standards of being popular in the school hallways. It was exhausting…
I hurt a lot of people because I cared more about myself. I missed a lot of opportunities to share about Jesus… because I thought I was too cool. I messed up a lot of relationships because I couldn’t just be honest. Yes… I learned A TON from all of my junk, but things could have been different. I wish I could fix some things. I wish I could go back and tell classmates who’ve passed away about Jesus…
I am so thankful that I’m not who I once was… aren’t you? We all have pasts… EVERY SINGLE PERSON. I am so thankful for grace and forgiveness and redemption… He makes us NEW!!! N.E.W. I’m not that girl… even though I struggle with some of those same things even now. I want to care for those around me… to see their hurt and rejoice in their celebrations. I want to know their stories. I want to be love to them. I want to speak truth. I want to support people’s dreams and hold their hands in the sorrows.
So… let’s live in the new. I don’t want to hold myself to my mistakes… and you shouldn’t do that to yourself either. PUT YOUR CHAINS DOWN! I don’t want others to hold my wrongs against me either… and I’ll try not to hold anything against you. I want to be new. I want relationships to be restored in ways only God can do it. I want to see my high school “mean girl” days used for His glory even more than they already have been. I want a chance to love my friends the way I should have loved them years ago.
So, Here’s to us… living in the new… learning from the past to make our future completely different!