"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
I glanced in the mirror for the fifty-seventh time. Was my hair still perfect? Did my clothes match? Should I wear earrings? Should I change my outfit and wear something cuter? How should I act while I’m there? What if they think I’m weird? What if they don’t like me? Should I try to act cool and smart?
Those questions almost always banged around in my head whenever I got ready for events, especially if I didn’t know that many people. That ever-present feeling that I had to do specific things to be liked, to make friends, to be like everybody else, was always around. I felt that I had to look all nice and cute to be loved and that I had to be smart and perfect. That feeling of following the prototype of the people around me was like a shadow that never left me. I’ve always been worried about how other people saw me. I didn’t want them to think I was just another girl who was struggling to even match her own clothes! I wanted to fit in, and yet I also wanted to stand out. I wanted to be liked, but I also wanted to be admired. I wanted to do something people didn’t normally see or do.
So, I decided I’d become ambidextrous. Long story short, I, uh, sort of succeeded? But most people don’t stand around looking for those who are both handed and praising them! (Anywho, the only thing I really “conquered” was eating and playing Ping-Pong left-handed, haha) It didn’t change much, except a lot of studying left-handers xD. I'm guessing that shortly after I turned thirteen, I started worrying about how I looked more than before. I started getting self-conscious about everything I did.
But in doing so, my relationship with God grew weaker. I was starting to focus more about what others thought about me rather than what GOD thought about me, and though it seemed like it was paying off, it didn’t give me happiness. It didn’t give me anything, except time wasted trying to look “good”. Oftentimes it prevented me from obeying God because I was so concerned about how others would perceive me when they saw me speak to the “lesser” (in the world’s eyes) people. It closed me off to opportunities. It kept me from so much, and after a while, I was ready to stop. I didn’t want to purposely start wearing mis-matched clothes- which isn't wrong, mark my words- (And looking nice is not a bad thing either, but if you start focusing on it too much, it can be very harmful) but I wanted to stop following the prototype. It had harmed me more than it had helped me, and I wanted no part with it any longer.
Does this sound familiar to any of you? I'm sure many of you have felt the pressure of trying to fit in, look trendy and be admired. Like me, many of you have held back from opportunities out of fear of how this world will see us. Some of you are trying to project perfect images and views of yourself on social media and are going to lengthy extents to reach that level. And let me guess: all this isn't making you happy or giving you joy. The race to follow the prototype of this world is never ending; it will go on and on. So many people fall into this trap. They believe they have to be exactly like so and so, doing exactly what they do, dressing like them, and so forth. There is just this yearn in them to be normal. To be like those cool people, to be popular, to be just like everyone else. To fit in. To be liked. But what is normal in this world anyway?
We can get stuck in a mindset that tells us that we have to do, or be, something or someone in order to feel like we belong. The world tells us we have to be a certain way, to 'believe in ourselves and follow our dreams.' Our friends tell us we have to act a certain way, our teachers teach us to be a certain way, and sometimes even our families push us to be like everyone else. And the Bible teaches us to be like Jesus. So who should we please? We can't please all of them!
And let's face the truth- nobody's perfect! But thankfully, that's not the end of the story. Jesus came to die for you. It doesn't matter if you follow all the latest fashions and are greatly admired by the world or not. He still died for you. He knows everything about you, and yet God continues to love you! And because of Jesus' sacrifice, guess what? If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, God sees Jesus whenever He looks at you! He sees you as perfect! You are a child of God! Chosen! Fearfully and wonderfully made! Loved! Forgiven! Wanted! Created unique and beautiful! Isn't that amazing?
So who should we be trying to please? A person who was created and changes often, or the Creator and unchanging God of the universe, who will never stop loving you? Who are you going to let define you? (Read Who Defines You? for more info) I encourage you to stop running on the 60 meter track that only goes around and around and around. Get out of the race of the prototype of this world and enter into the marathon that God has planned for you. Listen to His voice and follow Him wholeheartedly!
Don't be afraid of what the world will do to you. When it all comes down, no matter what they do to you, they can't kill your soul, which is everlasting. They can't take away the fact that in Heaven there is a room prepared for those who believe in Him. They can't take away God, who will never leave you nor forsake you. Are you going to give up what really matters in the long run for something that will not last? When you stand before God, will it matter that you got 10K likes on your photo? Will it matter that everyone back on earth thought you were the coolest and the greatest?
I encourage you to think this over this week. Make a list of areas where you are trying too hard to fit in and be liked according to the world, and write down ways you can replace the time you spend on that and use it instead for the Kingdom of God. He has great plans for you; don't you worry! I love you all and am praying for you!
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."