Thursday, October 2, 2014

Be The Person You Needed When You Were Younger

Hello, fellow digressors. It's been a while since I posted; five days, I believe. Did you miss me?

*crickets chirp* ...Ahem. Anyways.

So today I was browsing on Facebook, scanning through random posts generated by friends, family, and pages that I 'liked' years ago and never actually visit (but hey, they looked cool when I first 'liked' them). One of those pages which I interact with most often is 'Do Hard Things', which is generated by the people responsible for the phenomenal book of the same title (which I have not read all the way through yet, but hey, I'm getting to it). Their mission is to challenge teens and young adults to stop shrinking to fit society's low standards for them, and instead to do the hard things and grow to fulfill their God-given potential as young people. As such, some of their posts are pretty challenging for me personally, as a young adult.

A status they posted today really got to me: "Be the person you needed when you were younger."

Today I'm going to be open with you. And it scares me a little, but hey, I guess that's just one more hard thing that I'll have to do if I want to be any good to anyone else. Well, I guess I could be closed and give you a lot of third-person anecdotes about stuff that I've dealt with, but that just wouldn't be as effective.

When I was in high school, I was a loner. Extremely so. I was the daughter of a drama group coordinator's kid, so people knew me, but I didn't have a lot of people who I felt I could call my friends. Don't misunderstand; I met a lot of very nice people in those years. But due to my own insecurities and tendency to keep to myself, I didn't really get to know many of them.

I got so used to being by myself that I pretty much stopped trying to make friends. I would sit in a corner and just hope they would come to me. Not a very effective technique, but I was tired of trying to take part in conversations and then being ignored because I was too quiet. At some point, I accepted that I would never have anyone to really talk to, and so I'd just have to make do with occasional socialization from people who pitied me enough to initiate a conversation.

I recently discovered this poem, or whatever you might call it, about my experience as a wallflower. I wrote it at age seventeen, and by a couple of days ago, had completely forgotten that it existed. It's very raw, so I'm a little uncomfortable sharing it, but again, I'll do the hard thing and share:

"I am the girl in the corner.
I'm the one everybody ignores, unless they need something from me.
I'm the one you'll occasionally feel sorry for, the one you'll try to befriend...
You'll come up to me and ask my name, my interests. I smile and respond, but I don't say much.
I'm afraid of overstepping my bounds.
You take it to mean that I don't want you here.
So you leave.
And you never talk to me again.
I smile at you, and you look away. I'm not your friend. I'm nobody.
I'm just the girl in the corner.
I'm the one who pays attention in class, the one who cries when she fails her test.
I sometimes make friends, and we enjoy each other...
But they're so far away.
All I want is a friend who will be there for me.
One who has time to talk to me, who doesn't mind if I prefer to listen more than I speak.
I have "real" friends, but I'm too afraid to call them.
I know they care, but sometimes...
I'm too afraid that they won't want to talk to me.
They have so many friends...
I have my notebook, my pencils.
I have my music.
I have my art.
My stories.
A never-ending ache in my heart."

...Ahem. So, yeah.

What's the point in sharing this rather depressing piece of writing with you tonight? I guess it's just to give you a feel for where I'm coming from when I say that it is so important to reach out to others and do for them what you wish someone would have done for you once upon a time (but not in Storybrooke, obviously; if you find directions for how to get there, I want them). When I was younger, all I really wanted was to be enough for someone. Well, obviously, I'm enough for God. But sometimes, and especially in your teen years, it can be difficult to accept truths like that. It's hard to feel like you're enough when the people around you always seem to be too busy or too caught up in their own activities to bother with you.

Many of my old insecurities still cling to me. They have a tendency to do that. I still get lonely, and I still fear sometimes that all the people I've dared to call friends will one day decide they're tired of me and leave. Of course, many of my friends are not nearly so fickle as that, but it is a fear that will stick with me for a long time, possibly forever.

Let me just say briefly that it should not have mattered to me so much whether or not other people thought I was good enough. People, by their very nature, are fickle. We are swayed so easily by our emotions, caught up in the current trends and enthralled in the pursuit of our own comfort and amusement. I have found myself guilty of this so many times. Relationships can come and go on the winds of peer pressure, conflicting schedules or crushes, or an argument gone terribly wrong. If we find our worth in the approval of others, we will live in a constant state of misery, either running ourselves into the ground trying to meet everyone's often impossible standards, or brooding in a corner because we just can't keep up.

But no matter how many friends you have, how often you get invited to parties and nights out, or how many people follow your new blog (*guilty look*), you will always be enough for God. He loved you so much that He came to earth as a baby, lived as a man with every temptation imaginable, and died a horrible death on a cross FOR YOU. He withstood the constant scorn and outrage of others, went through scourging and beatings and every kind of rejection, FOR YOU. Not for some nameless third person, not for the person who's got everything under control and never had any problems (by the way, this person does not exist). He died for you. To pay for your sins, save you from judgement, clean your slate and purchase a place for you in Heaven. He knows you better than anyone else does or ever will, better than you know yourself, and He bled and died for you.

Wow. Now that's love. That's unconditional acceptance.

That says so much more than a thousand subscriptions on Blogger, retweets on Twitter, or 'likes' or friend requests on Facebook.

I just wish I could have accepted that when I was younger. I wish someone had demonstrated that unconditional love and acceptance in a way that I could understand. I wish I hadn't given up so easily.

So now, I want to be the kind of person who reaches out. I want to be honest with people, and listen gracefully when they are honest in return. I want to make time for others, encourage them, and prove to them that they are worth being loved and accepted no matter what they do. I want to show them that kind of Christ-like love so that they see Him shining through me and really understand how much they are worth to God.

I know I will never be the perfect friend, the perfect blogger, the perfect Christian, or the perfect... anything else, really. As much as I would like to be all of those things at once, it will never happen. But I can do my best. In fact, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13).

So I want to be that person. The one I hoped for as a teenager. The one so many other wallflowers and loners like me are waiting for right now.

The one God has called me to be.

In the spirit of that, I want you all to know that I am here to listen. If you have specific questions (about writing, or faith, or just general fangirl/fanboy stuff) that you want addressed in a post, or if you just need someone to talk to, feel free to message me at I can't promise that I will be the best counselor, or that I can fix all your problems. The only one who can fix anything is God, and I wouldn't presume to try and steal His job. But I remember what it is like to feel alone, and I don't want any of you to have to feel that unnecessarily. So I'm here. And I am praying for you.

...Did I use the word "briefly" earlier in this post? Yeah, I'm not good at doing things "briefly." Well, unless we're talking about socialization. In that case, yeah, I do that pretty briefly. I'm not much of a talker in real life. Well, unless my brain gets tired and I start rambling. Then things get just plain awkward. I can go from talking about some deep spiritual concept to musing about the last 'Doctor Who' episode I watched in about 0.2938571 seconds flat.

Seriously, though, 'The Rebel Flesh'? Creepy name. And what a plot twist there at the end. I mean, I've seen that episode and pretty much every DW episode available on Netflix a few times now, and the sheer brilliance of it still gets me. But I guess plot twists are even more fun when you're already familiar with them and start noticing all this great foreshadowing that the writers planted beforehand. How could I have missed that the first time...?

...But, of course... I digress. 


"What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged--
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge--
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there."

Joseph M. Scriven


  1. Wow. Thank you for writing that. That was really a great post. I'm a really social person, within my own social circle, but I don't like meeting new people, because...what if they don't like me? What if we don't 'click'? I'm learning to let go of all those worries and doubts (most of them are ridiculous anyways) and remember that I just have to be me. I'm perfect the way Jesus made me. Anyways. (I think I say 'anyways' way too much...anyways...) And the song you posted at the bottom - I love that song!
    PS: That poem you posted? That was really good as well, even if you do think it was pretty raw. :)

    1. PPS: Learning to let go of the worries and doubts I have when meeting new people AND actually being the one to make the first move and say 'hello.' XD

    2. Hi, Emma! I'm sorry I took so long to reply; it's been a busy week.

      I'm so glad the post blessed you. :) I love that song, too, and it seemed very appropriate to the topic being discussed. I can relate to so many of the fears you listed, and I have to admit that they still hold me back at times. I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone has them to some degree or another. But ultimately, you're right -- Jesus' opinion is the only one that matters, and if God makes no mistakes, then He must be happy with the way He created you and me, even when we mess up, or when our insecurities try to bring us down.

      And I say "anyways" entirely too much, so you're not alone there, either. ;)