Last night was my last night of youth group for the year. I’m going to be a senior next year and this frightens me very much. It was so hard praying for so many amazing people that graduated this year and just having so much nostalgia. It was an incredible night; very emotional, but it felt good. Of course my thoughts are still a train wreck that I’m trying to get back on track but once I figure those out some I’ll be able to blog about some other things.
In the meantime I want to write an open letter to all the young girls out there. Looking back on my jr. high and early high school years I can see many areas where I could have used some improvement. And of course I have lists of things I wish I had known back then. So many lessons I’m just now learning, and I don’t want other girls to have to waste so much time trying to figure these things out the hard way. Sure, they’ll still have to go through trial and error, but maybe it’ll be a little less painful and might save some time. I’m thinking of so many young girls at my church as I write this and I hope a good number of them will read this and I pray it helps in some area and offers some clarity. But even if you’re not a young girl, feel free to read on anyway.
Dear little girl,
I say “little” because right now you’re at a great time in your life where you might think you’re practically growing grey hairs and I want to assure you that you’re not as old as you think you are. I know I loved my jr. high years. That time holds some of the best memories I have. I know I used to think I was so old and on top of the world at your age. And that’s perfectly okay. Enjoy this time and don’t take everything so seriously. I mean, its just life. Let loose a bit. Don’t be so uptight. Life is too short to spend it worrying about what other people think of you. This is a time where you can find out who you really are and who you want to be. Whether you’re just starting jr. high or high school, this is your time. There will never be another time like this one.
Being a girl is hard stuff man. Let me tell you. There is peer pressure and trends and boys and cliques and then if you’re a Christian girl there’s the pressure to fit a certain mold and be a “good girl” and have all the answers in church and not be too different and the list goes on and on. I’m not gonna lie, one of the sucky things about this cool time in your life is that there will be gossip. Yep. Sorry. I can almost guarantee you will be in some sort of “He Said-She Said-They Said-I Said” mess at some point in your jr. high years. There is no real way to avoid this; but you can watch what you say and make sure you don’t gossip about other people. You’re not in charge of what people say about you, you’re only in charge of what you say about others. My philosophy has always been to live in such a way that no one can say anything bad about you, and even if they were to lie or make something up, no one would believe it. Be that kind of person. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or if they’re doing whats right; simply be the best you that you can be. Cliche? Maybe. But true.
Another thing you shouldn’t worry about is friends. Who is cool and who isn’t. Choose people who make you a better person. Another good tip is to look for people to lend a hand to. I promise that you will not regret helping someone. It might hurt at times; but God rewards faithful servants. So look for the kid who sits alone or the quiet ones. Look for ways to be a light! One thing I’m just learning now is to not make yourself the victim. You’re gonna get hurt and feel knocked down but never wallow away in self pity. Live in joy! And when you live in joy you can spread that light and hope to others, and trust me, that is waaaaaaaaay better than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. I’ve been doing too much of that lately and please, learn this lesson before you’re a junior in high school. It’ll just save you so many tears. A comfort I’ve had in my life is being able to look back and see that many of the stressful and hard situations I went through can now be looked back and laughed upon. I mean that. It may look like a mountain now, but once you’re on top of it you’ll see that you’re not even very far off the ground.
Now here’s a big topic.
Yeah. I could write a whole blog series and still only touch the surface of this incredible broad discussion topic. There are so many things girls want to know about boys and the sad thing is, you can’t know it all. I live with 5 of them and I still don’t understand them. But again, this is okay. Boys are a mystery and we shouldn’t stress too much about trying to understand them. Also, don’t read too deep into their “signals” or whatever. Guys don’t think too hard or read into as many things as we do. Try to keep it simple. One of the hardest things you can learn about this is to not care about whether or not a guy likes you. I’m totally serious. It’s hard as heck. Because I still find myself wondering over if my crush likes me back and if he was staring at me or someone behind me or if that punch was flirty or him just being a guy. But when it comes down to it; it really doesn’t matter. Unless someone tells you straight up that they have feelings for you, it’s all a giant guessing game. And guessing games suck so don’t play them. Instead, work on maintaining friendships with your awesome brothers in Christ! I didn’t appreciate the godly guys God had given me when I was younger but recently I’ve come to realize how blessed I’ve been by them. I was lucky enough to have guys in my life who treated me like I was their sister and protected me and looked after me. If you’re blessed enough to have those kind of boys in your life, don’t take them for granted! Those guys are special and I would strongly advise against ruining friendships with them. Guys can be so much fun if you’re not paranoid about whether or not they’re flirting with you.
So chances are you’re going to fall for a boy, and then there will probably be that girl who likes the same boy you do; and more likely than not, that other girl will be your friend, and maybe even your best friend. This will cause some serious problems. I can almost promise you that you’re going to get mad at least once because someone is flirting with your crush. This is the source of basically all the drama that goes down in girl world. Just watch Mean Girls. You’re probably going to cry a few nights because you think he’s flirting back and it’s going to feel like you have no future but you do. Whatever is meant to be, will be. You have to trust that God always has your best interests at heart. You just focus on your number 1 Guy and your relationship with Him. But never play mean or dirty and never treat a girl as less than a child of God because she is supposedly flirting with your man. Respect is key. We are called to love each other and God loves us. He loved us to the point of death on a cross; that’s how we should treat others too. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it.
Another thing to watch out for is self image. I know these are the years that insecurities can really start to take root. So now is the time to really dig into the Word and start to develop who you are in Christ and begin to stand firm in your identity in Him. You are beautiful no matter how people treat you and you are valuable and precious. See yourself as a treasure. This also means not giving yourself away to the first boy who says you look pretty. Guys are going to treat you well, but don’t give your heart away so easily. You are a prize.
I feel like I just listed a whole lot of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that’s” so I want to wrap it up with some “do’s.” Do have fun and enjoy yourself. Be fun and crazy. Participate in the weird shaving cream fight at youth group even though trying to wash it out of your ears will take hours. Run and jump and be free! You are young and wild; so let yourself act as such. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up. Be brave. Be insane. Do what you want to do. “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?” That is basically one of my favorite lyrics of all time. (Thank you Switchfoot.) That question is so important. This is your life. Be all you want to be. Be all God has called you to be. The key is to not care about what other people think or do or say, but to simply love others and love yourself and love God. The faster we can grasp the concept of loving others, the sooner we can let go of all the things that make life difficult.
One final point I want to make will probably go against everything you’ve ever been told and anything you ever thought. I want to tell you to be excited to grow up. Don’t be afraid of getting old. I believe that you need to find the perfect balance between not wanting to grow up and growing up too fast. It’s just time. Don’t let it dictate your life. I know too many people who spend too much time wishing things were the same as “back in the day” or wishing they were a bit older so they could do something. Don’t overthink it. It’ just time and it only has the power you give it. You can’t change life’s speed or the past or how many years you get; you can only choose what to do with that time. (A wise grey wizard taught me that lesson.) So don’t fear the future or be upset over the past. Simply live life.
These are your years. You can choose to live them for yourself, for others, or for a higher calling. The choice is yours.
I pray that God would give you the time of your life in these next few years.