If you haven’t checked out my most recent Instagram post, then you probably didn’t know that unfortunately, I start my first day of senior year tomorrow (I’m PUMPED, but I just love summer so much:’) When that realization hit me, I remembered all the different things I learned junior year that I thought would help high schoolers navigate their paths better. Things I wish I knew when coming to terms with myself, my place in school, and my place with Him. I kind of let this series go for a bit, but what better way to bring in the school year with a lil bit of God’s truth? So here it is…STAND OUT!
If there’s one thing that I (still do) struggle with, it’s the concept of fitting in. Whether it be with academics, a friend group, or a sports team, it’s likely the most common thing kids my age deal with. Of course it’s natural to want to feel like a part of something, especially since that can lead to amazing friendships, amazing opportunities, and a sense of fulfillment. However, in times of weakness, it also gives the Devil the chance to sneak some false information about your worth into your head. For me personally, it was the lie that others were better than me, and no matter how much I tried to impress or be friendly, there was someone in the crowd better than I. I would scour social media accounts, comparing my own to theirs, how many followers they had, so much that at times I was too afraid to look at my phone. In person, I became more reserved so I wouldn’t say or do the wrong thing, and envied how other girls were able to be so out there and get praised, while I thought if I attempted the same thing I’d be looked at a different way. Overall, I was so obsessed with fitting in and trying to be perfect that I lost my sense of self in my attempt to please others.
I got so caught up in the lies I let in that I blocked out God’s message to me. That I was enough, I was worthy, and that I was so clouded by earthly judgement and caught up with impressing people, that I forgot His approval is the one I should be seeking. Even though I consider my stray from God minor (I don’t want people thinking I want pity, I’ve gotten so much stronger from this!), I still realized how destructive my way of thinking was for me, and how it easily could’ve led me down a rougher path.
When I went to Bigstuf (a Christian camp in Panama City Beach, FL), one of the messages that highlighted the theme Originals was that “Originals Stand Out.” It used Matthew 7:13 as an example of how people who are under the Devil’s influence often take the wide road everyone else takes that leads to destruction. That could be drinking, drugs, conformity, anything that has nothing to do with God. I knew too many people that got caught up with the parties or getting too involved with being the most popular just because they thought that was what was expected, or that it would bring them genuine happiness. However, taking the road that God wants you to take (even though it might seem like the less fun way) can actually lead you closer to heaven and a greater life.
One thing I don’t want happening to anyone is for them to think they have to conform to a crowd, have a certain image that is supposed to please others, or doing sinful things just to “fit in.” Because honestly, God wants you to stand out, to represent His finest creation. It blows my mind to think that before ANYONE accepted me, approved of me, or welcomed me, God already wanted me.
You are God’s finest creation, there’s no reason why you should want to hide away. A verse I want you to take into this school year is Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Be transformed by God’s love and approval and want for you.
I wish you the best school year! Good luck!