Did anyone else NOT have it all together in high school?
I was painfully shy.... painfully. From my earliest memories until I went to college.
I like to blame it on my outspoken sister for talking so much that I could never get a word in…. but the truth is, I was just too scared of saying the wrong thing and causing people to give me that furrowed brow “uhhh” look… you know the one. As I grew, it affected more and more parts of my life, down to my spiritual development and growth. In high school I was too shy to go to youth group and WAY too shy to go to Sunday School where I might be *gasp* called on!
I was walking with Jesus at the time, but most of my peers wouldn’t have known… instead they just thought I was awkward and silent. (Which I was. Super awkward and literally silent.) In fact, I remember the question I was asked most by my peers in high school: “Why don’t you talk?” And you know what effect that had? I talked less.
Thinking back on it, that’s probably when my depression first began. In some ways it looked a lot like it does when it shows up these days… isolation, fear, loneliness.
The trouble was… other than my sister threatening to beat people up for being mean to me, back then my support system was quite literally only my mom and dad, and they were (and are) AWESOME. But, clearly, I really didn’t do a lot of talking, so not too many people (read: no people at all) knew what my heart was actually going through. Not even them, and that is really tragic. (Talk to your parents, guys. They want to know what’s going on in your heart!)
I knew Jesus, and I loved Jesus.
But did I spend a lot of time with Jesus? Did I talk to Jesus more than I talked to my peers?
No. Not really at all.
When I look back on those days, I can see that I needed some kind of accountability to spend time with Him and learn how to talk to Him. I needed something to help me remember to get into God’s word, to remind me to talk to Him and memorize His words… and since Sunday school and youth group were not options that I was willing to consider, I was pretty lost.
And then last year when I was putting together the first edition of Everyday Mercies, it dawned on me… that’s what I needed all those years ago, just as much as I need it now as a mom!
Something that would have focused my heart on getting to know Jesus every day through His Word. Something that would keep me in His Word, and in return remind me daily of my worth in Him. A tool that would organize my quiet times, show me where to start, keep me listening in church on Sundays, give me weekly passages and promises of God to memorize, and ultimately bring me to His feet.
I needed to see His mercies everyday, because most days I was too deep in self-consciousness and fear to recognize His hand guiding my steps.
I can see now that if I had had this tool in high school, and really used it, college would have looked a whole lot different. I would have been more confident in my faith when I finally came out of my shell of silent introvertedness. I would have found a church home instead of hopping from place to place and sleeping in most Sundays…
I’ll never forget the day I said to an atheist friend in college, “I just don’t understand how anyone couldn’t believe.”
Y’all, I was so not prepared to say something like that! He asked, “Why do you believe?” A friend at the table said, “I can’t wait to hear this…”
And I’m pretty sure I fumbled out some words that sounded something like, “Uh. I just do.”
I’m serious, y’all. That’s it. That was all I could come up with.
I needed to be in the word. That friend knew I wasn’t and he knew I wouldn’t be able to answer that question. He knew my statement was nonsense if I couldn’t back it up… and I wasn’t in the Word enough to be able to back it up.
I try not to look back on those days with regret, because I know God used them in my story. But I think it’s ok for me to wish I’d had a tool like Everyday Mercies: faith planner and journal for students.
Maybe some of this sounds familiar… maybe you’re struggling to stay consistently in the Word, and maybe you’re growth is looking pretty stagnant. Maybe your not awkward and silent, but popular and extroverted. Either way maybe you see yourself in parts of my story… lost in knowing where to start in growing your faith. Clueless how to answer questions about your faith or talk to your friends about Jesus. Distracted in church and quiet times… but longing to grow closer to Jesus, read His words every day, talk to Him often, and ultimately just know Him better.
If that’s you, I’m praying you will find an accountability partner and get into the Bible. I’m praying you find yourself daily flooding praise and adoration to your Father. I’m praying you know Him more and more each and every day.
And if you’re not sure where to start, I would love for you to take a look at Everyday Mercies: faith planner and journal for students and see if it’s the right tool for your faith journey.