Exterminating High School

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wasn’t popular in school. Ha. What an understatement. But we’re going to leave it understated and work from there. I have mentioned how I struggle to believe God loves me. ME. Personally. He made me, and he gave me something special, something uniquely me that He, and sometimes He alone, finds endearing. He loves me. He likes me. He wants to take time to be with me.

If I think too long about that, I talk myself out of believing it. And part of that comes from the things I learned in high school. So, this is the post where I symbolically take a poison spray can to  lies from the enemy. They’ve nested in my spirit long enough.

Lesson one: Beauty is everything. Brain is nothing. And I’m not beautiful. I didn’t dress in designer clothes. I never figured out how to make my wavy, frizzy hair do the cool hair stuff. I failed makeup 101. I had/have tics, annoying social habits, no chest, and other faults that meant the word beauty was never applied to me. And it mattered. I graduated with nearly straight As and got scholarships, but that didn’t matter, not the way looks and popularity mattered. It mattered to people around me, and I let them tell me that it determined my value.

However, I am now an adult. I know my mind and heart and soul matter. My actions matter. God loves me regardless of any of it. He made me, and I am beautiful to him. And since his opinion is more important than all the other opinions put together, I am beautiful. I want to say that again. I AM BEAUTIFUL.  Heart, body, soul, mind. So, that first lesson–yeah, that one needs a big old squirt of bug spray to get it out of my system.

Lesson two: Shy people don’t deserve respect and friendliness. If you weren’t shy, you might not get this one. Those of us in the corner honestly began to believe we deserved to be shunned or treated wrong. That feeling can bleed into family life, friendships, marriage, everything. Even into my prayer life, as I doubt God will listen to me. I don’t deserve anything. I’m not special. I don’t measure up. How many times have I said that to myself?

Ha. What a crock. Exactly whose measuring stick am I using? The Creator of the Entire Universe delights over me in singing. I am made in his image. I am his daughter. I so totally measure up, shy or not. My personality is God given and worthy of respect and honor. That means I have to respect it myself and not belittle what he has made, what he loves. It also means I can surround myself with people who respect and care for me, and I can walk away from those who hurt and break me. Lesson two, you may be hiding in my closet or cowering under my bed, but I’m coming for you. It’s your turn to go.

Lesson Three: Only the popular people can pull off fashion and beauty.  This sounds like it doesn’t matter. I mean, we’re talking fashion. This is petty and has nothing to do with life. Ah, but it does. I once bought something fashionable that was a little edgy. I wore it to school: a cool pair of pants, new shoes, and a hat. Yep, a cool little hat. Unlike anything I’d ever worn before. And kids made fun, and my shoe strap broke, and I don’t think I’ve tried a unique look since. Looking good is for the special people, the cool people. I’m drab. That’s who I am. It’s my style. I tell myself it’s godly not to be attractive, that I don’t have to protect and care for myself because it’s just looks. But again, this attitude spills over into everything.

Wow. I was made in the image of God. GOD. And I don’t deserve to look pretty? To feel good about the way I look? To take care of this body and the spirit and mind it houses? Really, it is not out of bounds to dress in something that makes me feel good. More than once men of God thanked God for beautiful wives–Isaac, Jacob, David. My husband is blessed when I look my best, when I care about myself, when I am confident and live as the daughter of the King of the Universe. I am allowed to appreciate who I am and take care of myself, including my body. Lesson three, get out of my wardrobe and off my mirror and let me shine.

Lesson Four: The unpopular people should be quiet and stay out of the way. You’re probably seeing a pattern here, aren’t you? And it’s pitiful. I apologize for listening to voices asking me to be pitiful. But we’re killing them off, so it’s going to be okay. This one, the desire to be invisible–it might be the worst one of all.

God says I’m to be a light in the world. Being light and being invisible–those are terribly at odds. I have something to show the world, something to say. They won’t like it. They might laugh. They might kill me. But I am to be seen and heard. I have inner beauty from the Spirit glowing in my soul that should be seen all over the place. I have a job to do. Whatever the consequences, my Father, who made and loves me and won’t ever let me drop from his hand, wants me to do it.

Rule four, hear me roar. Quiet, invisible me doesn’t have to listen to you any more. (Oops. Apparently when I write excited, I rhyme.) The world might not see my value, but God does. And again, his opinion matters. It’s the only one that matters, and he loves to hear me and see me and interact with me and be seen with me.

I realize simply saying I don’t believe these things is easier than changing my actions and attitudes. But I hope typing the words takes some of their power. I know the truths, and that’s the first and most difficult step. Regardless, at the moment I feel like I should go buy something flattering, comb my hair, and post a new photo somewhere. So happens I have no photos on either my fiction or my blog pages. Figures, right? Maybe that’s the first step, to accept that I am someone worth seeing. And then, let’s see where it goes from there. Time for the ugly duckling to realize she’s been a swan in hiding for a very, very long time. Maybe I need to glide onto the lake and swim for the Father who loves me.

If you’ve been trapped in lies, join me in throwing them away. We’re worth more than the world will ever admit. Beautiful, beloved daughters and handsome, strong sons. And that’s a wonderful thing.

 

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