“We are always one flesh wound away from our middle school insecurities.” -Kay Wyma
Mini-school night. This is the middle school version of Open House – at least for our school district. A week or two after school starts, parents are invited to walk their child’s schedule, complete with class beginning and ending bells. Between bells, we parents spend roughly 8 minutes meeting each of our darling’s new teachers for the school year. This is a ginormous beating. You can’t find a place to park, you can’t find your spawn’s classes and you’ll be lucky if you can find your sanity by the end of the evening. And yet I go every year. At this stage in my daughter’s education, it may be the only time I lay eyes on some of her teachers.
As I moved from class to class at this year’s mini-school, I anxiously looked for a familiar face before choosing a seat. That’s all it took to mentally transport me back to the awkwardness of my own teenage years. The insecurity of growing curves and actually needing a bra before any of my friends. The other girls still looked like sticks, so in my eyes, curves = fat. At almost my full-grown height, I felt like a lumberjack with permed hair and the genesis of an acne problem. The weird new feelings for boys increased my self-conscious insecurity. Growing up and apart from my childhood friends added loneliness to the parcel of new and excruciating feelings. Mix in my propensity to wear the ketchup or gravy served with most cafeteria lunches and it’s a wonder I escaped Jr. High with any semblance of dignity.
A couple of weeks after mini-school, I signed up for a new Bible study with a friend at a neighboring church. My friend had an appointment the very first day and let me know she would be late. Walking into the huge room filled with 200 women – not knowing if I would recognize a soul – gave me that middle-school feeling once again. As a middle-aged, happily-married mother of 2, I kinda expected to be well passed the “will I fit in?” and “who will be my friend?” apprehensions. But I still get blemishes, (How unfair is it to have pimples and wrinkles at the same time?) so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Self-doubt still comes out to play at the most inopportune times.
To be truthful, I am nothing special in and of myself. But my Savior is something very special. So when I’m uneasy or feeling fragile, I like to remind myself of what He says about me.
- When I feel like a dork, God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
- When I’m needy, He reminds me that He supplies all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)
- When I’m struggling to belong, it helps to remember I’m a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
- When the last thing I feel is confident, Ephesians 3:12 says I have confident access to the God of the universe.
- As I dab concealer on a breakout, I’m reminded that in Christ I am holy and unblemished. (Ephesians 1:4)
- Even if I’m left out by friends, God chose me as His special possession. (1 Peter 2:9)
- When the fat pants make an appearance and my hair won’t cooperate, God says He created me in His image (Genesis 1:27)
- When everyone else’s talents seem bigger and more significant than mine, I can read in God’s word that I am His handiwork, created in Christ to do GOOD work. (Ephesians 2:10)
- And lastly, the Bible counters those times I just feel all wrong (don’t tell me I’m the only one). I am not only right, I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Do you remember the pimply, permed girl from middle school?