Stop trying to hide the sun

You
have so much potential it spills out from every seam of your body
You don’t even notice
It’s like someone is trying to hide the sun
with a fishnet.
Everyone can see through the holes
but
you’re still holding it back.
I will cut through the ropes
with words of encouragement because
you
you will be a light so bright it will illuminate those around you
like the moon
reflects the sun
you
will do
great things.

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Realizing you like yourself is an incredibly liberating feeling.

I spend my Tuesday nights volunteering as a leader at my church’s Jr High ministry, Wired. The kids are in grades 6-8 and totally crazy but, I can honestly say I love it with all my heart. I see so much potential in the kids. They are kind and creative and funny and smart and I love spending time with them. Not going to lie, I probably learn more from their brutal honesty than I teach them, although I hope I can be an ally and a role model to them in a time that I know, from experience, can be a really difficult period in life.

Anyways, it can also sometimes be really hard on the heart. Kids these days do not have it easy. Even since I was a Jr. High, just 4-6 years ago, things have changed dramatically. Sure, kids were always mean to each other. But since technology and social media have exploded in the last few years, these kids are growing up way faster than I ever did. And they compare themselves to each other to no end.

I was never comfortable with who I was. In fact, when I went to Wired, I was pretty angry all the time. I thought it was stupid, wasn’t sure where I stood with God and felt like I didn’t fit in with the kids who had grown up in the church and seemed to have all the answers. They always wore the right clothes, won the games, knew what they believed in small group discussions and seemed to have it all together. I on the other hand was awkward with how I looked, unsure of what I had to say and therefore was pretty quiet at youth (hard to believe now, I know). In fact if it hadn’t been for one leader, Nicole, who consistently loved on me I probably wouldn’t have kept going. I was that unsure of myself.

Safe to say, I’ve come a long way. Those girls I was jealous of? They are now some of my best friends and I can tell you, while they are wonderful people, they don’t have it all together. I now talk probably more than is good for me and I feel confident in the leadership roles I have been entrusted with. So what changed?

I realized that my talents aren’t meant to be compared to those around me. I know it seems pretty straight forward but even in high school I would look around and ask God why I wasn’t as pretty as her, as likeable as her, didn’t have talents in music or sports like her and her, why I wasn’t as funny as her, why I couldn’t be a little less annoying or better looking and you know God, wouldn’t I be better able to serve you if I was XYZ….?
I’ve realized now that I legitimately don’t want to be anyone but me. I have my problems but so does everyone else. By not being the typical “pretty girl” I’ve been saved from heartbreak and know that people like me for who I am inside. And my outgoing personality? I know it can be intimidating at times but for the most part it allows me to love people with everything I have. I love to talk to people and get to know them and laugh with them. I’ve learned that I may have no sense of rhythm but I have been blessed with a way with words, a love of poetry (something I’m just starting to explore), a passion for finding ways to communicate. I’m a storyteller and a people person and I am happy.

I’m happy.

And tonight at small groups, I wanted nothing more for those sweet girls to know how truly wonderful they are. They all are so different and I see them watch each other, trying to see who has the best gifts. But I’m learning that God really can use us each for our purpose. And I can see now that I wouldn’t be happy doing things I’m not meant for. And that is such a freeing thing to have confidence in.

Whoever you are, you do have gifts. They may not be the ones that are common or praised but they are there. Or maybe you are the athlete and the musician. That’s awesome too! Go for it with everything you have. Every quirk that makes you different from your siblings or friends can be used for greatness. If we all spent more time learning how to use our personalities and being confident in who we are, rather than wishing away our uniqueness, we would all be happier and the world would be filled with more beauty, creativity, innovation, intelligence and contentment.

So cheer on your friends in their talents and give yours a go! You have the potential for incredible things.
I can’t wait to watch my Wired kids grow into themselves and I pray that in gr 12 they will be able to look back and say yeah, I’m happy with who I am.

-Love, Sam

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