"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt...and go out to dance with the joyful." - Jeremiah 31: 3-4

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recently, I've been forced to face a deeply rooted issue. It's one of those things that you can ignore and still function normally but somewhere in your heart it's slowly eating away at your confidence and ability to look at life clearly. I'm not sure when this first developed in me. I could guess it was some time in middle school. Those few years were not easy for me, as they aren't for most kids. It's a time of insecurity and instability. Everything is changing. Mind, body and soul are going through a serious transformation. Those few delicate years can break someone easily and totally. Luckily, things were not that serious for me and I escaped with only minor scrapes and bruises but injuries none the less. If you'll allow me to be vulnerable for a moment, I can explain.

I had a close group of girlfriends during middle school. We did everything together, went to the high school football games, got ready for dances, went to the mall, had sleepovers, talked about boys... basically everything 13 year old girls do. We were best friends. But then suddenly, seemingly overnight, I was out. I was no longer "in the group." I had been replaced by someone else, simple as that. Perhaps the reason was that I did not have a boyfriend and all of them did. So not only did I have no friends but I had no boyfriend. For a 13 year old, that is the end of the world and it hurt me more than I would have ever admitted back then.

After middle school, things got a little easier. I had newfound confidence in high school and got through the first couple years without much incident. Junior year brought with it a little more struggle. First boyfriend meant first broken heart which of course brought out that insecurity again. Someone I believed would be there, if not forever then at least for more than a few months did not want me anymore. Blah blah blah, it all seems so silly now but I took it pretty hard at the time. I now can look back and see that it wasn't so much that particular person that hurt me, it was the idea of being unwanted that really crushed me. That idea haunted me throughout the next four years.

I was abandoned time and time again during those years and every time, it hit me harder and harder. Why didn't anyone stay with me? Friends, boyfriends, mentors... no one stuck around. I tried so hard to make myself feel wanted. I dated the same boys multiply times because they would fight for me. I wanted to be fought for, even if it was only a game to them. Nothing made me happier than being pursued, even if I knew deep down that a relationship could never really work. All that mattered was that they said they wanted me. Regardless of how many times they got me only to leave me again, I still always eventually took them back. I was desperate to believe that this time things would be different and they would stay. Obviously, they never did.

People will always disappoint. No one is perfect. Even someone who you thought did everything right will make a mistake eventually and upset you. I guess what I'm learning from all of this is that you can't expect to find yourself in others. That's what I did. I tried to find myself in my relationships and friendships and when the person failed to meet my expectations and needs, I would fall apart. I was looking to them to hold me together and if they couldn't do that then I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't even know myself! I became a soccer fan, a baseball fan, a football fan, a skater girl, a hippie girl, a party girl, a drinker, a smoker, a lover, a lover of punk music, a lover of rap music, a lover of techno music, a classic novel reader, a poetry reader, a military book reader, considered transferring schools and even considered moving to a different state! Simply because of the relationship I was in at that moment! I wanted desperately to know who I was but I didn't even know where to start. I wasn't even sure what my favorite color was!

Flash forward to present time. I could write a book about all that happened to help me discover myself, but I don't really have that kind of time right now. So I'll just quickly tell you where I'm at now....

I'm Stephanie. I love sunsets, looking at the stars and sitting around a campfire. I read fantasy novels and classic literature. I like the beach but I'd rather be in a cabin surrounded by trees and mountains. I love to write and it's a small dream of mine to write a book someday. My favorite color is black because it's classic. I'll say I hate dressing up but really, I love it. I am a Christian. I love Jesus Christ and I live for Him every single day. He is the center and biggest part of my life. In Him, I find myself.

When others were not loyal to me, when they abandoned me and hurt me, Jesus never left my side even for a moment. Even when I was anything but loyal to Him, He was true to me. And that, my friends, is what this life is all about.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:6-7

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