This past month I’ve been reflecting on some things.
I have finally made it past the first four weeks of school and now I’m starting to feel like I have wiggled my way into my niche. Life is good. I just spent all last night with some great girls making dinner, drinking coffee, playing cards, watching movies, baking pizzookie*, and wearing face masks. At one point last night, I laughed so hard I involuntarily spat an entire mouth full of water out. (I am so sorry, Amanda, for invading your personal bubble with my spit.)
I posted a cute selfie on Instagram, (I mean look at us…we are seriously adorable) and the tendency we have as humans, more specifically females, to seeing other people having fun is to ask ourselves why we are not having fun?
I mean, I’m not the only one, right?!
Here is the truth: before I hit the four-weeks-i-actually-have-friends mark, I would sit in my room and wonder what was wrong with me because it seemed like literally everyone around me was making friends, fitting in, and having fun. Yet, I was struggling to make connections with other people. The result is obviously to think that I am the problem…right? This is not a new concept for me, and it probably isn’t for you.
I have moved around a lot. I have been blessed to see God work in many areas of the world and to be a part of that work is unexplainable. When I tell people that I lived in Europe, I think they automatically assume that my life was a magical fairy tale. While I acknowledge that I am blessed and spoiled to have lived in some spectacular areas of the world, I am still a human, and my life was still pretty normal. I went to high school and did high school things. Moving around a lot has its perks that I will forever be grateful for. However, just as many other things in life, it has its downsides too. One of those downsides is the uncomfortable phenomenon of knowing so many people in so many places but somehow feeling alone.
I remember feeling lonely quite often and wondering why all of the closest friends that I made the deepest connections with always lived in different places. Whenever I struggled with making friends in the place I was, my natural tendency was to blame myself.
I feel like people don’t like me here.
I feel like they don’t like me because I’m American.
I feel like they don’t like me because I’m not as smart as them.
I feel like I’m not good enough.
I feel like there is something wrong with me.
And as adolescence began, these started to pop up out of nowhere:
I feel like I’m chubby. No boy will ever like a chunk.
I feel like my hair is too thick…why can’t my hair be silky and straight, like hers?
I feel like my crooked tooth is ugly.
I feel like I’m too skinny. No boy will ever like a stick.
I feel like I’m not _________ enough.
Whenever these thoughts invaded my mind, my precious mom would always say this: “Emotions are liars”. She explained that even if we felt a certain way, it didn’t necessarily mean it was true. Even if I felt as if I wasn’t good enough in some area of my life, mom would always point out that Jesus had something to say about it.
I am giving myself the perfect opportunity to display my nerd-heart for the world to see. This semester I am taking a class called “Social Problems”. We talk about a lot of heartbreaking things but one of my favorite topics we’ve studied so far is the inequality gap. In as simple of a way as I can put this: The people with the most money have the most power. The ones who can induce social change the most are the ones with power and therefore, the people who can induce the most social change are the ones who have money. Here is the worst part: the people with the most money in America were given that money. There is no possible way for them to have literally started from the bottom and made it to where they are by working. (I know that’s not true for every single rich man or woman in America. But let’s be real here.) They were mostly born into it, married into it, or inherited it through a family death.
Here is the zinger: Because the rich never knew exactly what it was like to be poor, they will never know what the poor really need.
Ok, I am getting to my point now. Jesus is not like the rich in America.
When Jesus was on this Earth, somehow fully man and fully God all at once, he went through what you are going through. Yes, you read that right. Jesus experienced temptation, too. Satan even personally spoke to Jesus and attempted to fill his head with lies. (Key word: attempted. Jesus never gave in and never sinned. You go, Jesus.) Jesus knows exactly what it feels like when your mind is swirling with thoughts of disbelief in yourself. Because Jesus was in the same position as us at one point, he fully and completely empathizes with us. He knows what we need.
Here is the other zinger: Jesus Identified the things that Satan was whispering to him as lies and he hung on to the Father. We need to do that too.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
Satan wants us to feel like we are not good enough. But, then there is Jesus. Jesus wants to give us life.
Through the power of Jesus, we can resist the temptation to believe the lie that we are not skinny enough, pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, you name it. Satan wants to discourage you. Jesus just wants you.
So, next time are sitting on your bed and crying because you don’t think anyone wants to be your friend: Talk to Jesus. Open your Bible. Let God’s word encourage you with truth so that it can kick out the lies. Make some coffee. Call your mom. Whisper to yourself that “emotions are liars” and be patient. Let God answer your prayers in His timing. Let God’s word remind you that you are not alone and that Jesus gets it. Let yourself feel the pressure to be perfect lighten.
Friends, I hope you are encouraged to know that you are loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, and understood by our sweet Jesus. That’s so spectacular.
All My Love,