Tuesday, August 19, 2014

the truth about middle school

Last night I stumbled upon one of my notebooks from the past year. I tend to write on everything and anything I can find at the moment a thought occurs to me. Whether that means a note in my phone, the back flap of a book, or once I even ended up writing on a paper towel. This notebook I found has been written in sporadically since January. As I flipped through the pages I began to remember some of the struggles I've had in 2014.

On one page I wrote, Being anonymous in a new city has forced me to figure out who I am, and where I fit. On another page I wrote about my identity, and why I sometimes struggle with knowing who I am, or where my place is in the world.

Remember how much middle school sucked? I've never met a person who can actually say they loved and enjoyed middle school. It was the worst! I worked with middle school students at our church before we moved to NZ, and it reminded me all over again how hard that time of life is. Why is that? I think it's because in middle school you've just reached that age where you're trying to figure out who you are, what you're good at, who your real friends are, etc. It's a lot to handle as a 13 year old with braces! So during these months of writing in this journal I felt like I was almost back in middle school again. As weird as that is to admit, it's so true.

But it was so cool, because just a few pages later in this journal I wrote down notes taken at a conference I went to. I didn't know anything about this conference until about 3 days before when some dear family friends of ours encouraged me to go and even paid my way.

On the second day of the conference the speaker's message was all about our identity, and who we are through God. She said when we don't know who we are, we become what we think other people want (hellooooo. Middle school!). This is the kind of rut I found myself in. Every word she said felt like it was aimed right at me.

Our society tries to pin so many labels on your jacket. My labels include, my age, marital status, education, employment, even the fact that I'm the first born in my family. We find our identity in all kinds of things, from the clothes we wear to the books we read. I'm even guilty of taking those crazy online tests to see "What Dawson's Creek character are you?" (Joey, if you were wondering). But what do all of those things really tell me about you? Probably not too much.

We as people really find ourselves when we realize and embrace who God has called us to be. The passions he put inside each of us are unique and vital to our identity.  How do you discover your unique God-given passions? I know mine because they are what keep me up at night. The things that you could talk about for hours. The things that you know deep down in your gut that you want to do one day. The things you didn't have to learn to love, you just naturally do.

At the bottom of the page I wrote down one of my favorite quotes;
If you knew who God has created you to be, you'd never want to be anyone else. -Bill Johnson

Finding this journal and reading what I was dealing with this past year has made me so thankful. Thankful to see the transition and growth that has taken place since January. Sometimes I still struggle with knowing my identity. I'm not always happy with who I am. I wish I was good at sports and small talk and cooking. And to be honest, some days still feel like middle school.

But this is what I've learned; your whole life isn't middle school. It gets so much better! But we have to stop pretending like we have it all together, because nobody really does. Reality is so much better than fake middle school kids all trying to impress each other. Real security comes in realizing you were created totally unique and incredible with not a single mistake. Your passions, those things that keep you up at night, that's what you were made to pursue.

Forget what society wants you to be.
The real you [me]  is enough.

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