I remember high school like it was yesterday. While I did have quite the sporadic high school experience, I was present for the first two years of that venture (physically, at least).
What I remember is not a bunch of fairy-tale Homecomings, T.V. relationships, or perfect classroom experiences. I did not wake up looking forward to going to school. In fact, if I were to be completely honest, I hated it. Despite the fact that most of my teachers loved me.
Here’s the thing: high school was not about the grades for me (although it seemed like it those nights I stayed up until all hours writing the “perfect” paper). It was about making sure that I “fit in”. It was about pleasing the expectations instead living the way I was created to live.
And there were some expectations that were just impossible to stand up to. Like making straight A’s (not just A’s, mind you, but 100’s). Or looking like the “popular girls”: thin, toned, and make-up that had the same effects as photoshop. Or finding time to interact with friends when all the time I did have went to schoolwork. Or striving to please all the negative voices of the few “mean girls” that every school has.
The expectations wore me down. The comments from some girls destroyed me. The perfectionism in my own head (in addition to the high expectations of an AP curriculum) beat me to the ground.
I was a living, breathing dead girl walking around. Definitely NOT the most exciting four years of my life.
I did learn though. I learned that there will always be one girl that will never be happy with you. There will always be expectations that you just can’t physically measure up to. There will always be 95’s waiting to latch onto your papers. There will always be those “perfect” girls with the “perfect” lives…who aren’t so perfect underneath.
The thing about high school is it doesn’t end at graduation. The dynamics follow you through life, giving you the opportunity each day to make a choice. Will you give into the dynamics, or will you choose to live the way you were destined to live, free from the opinions of a group that determines what’s “best”?
I don’t walk the halls of a school anymore, but I am still constantly met with the expectations. I still look at those girls and feel as if I should look like them. I still remember those expectations and wonder if I should be living by them. I still recall the comments made about me long ago and wonder if what she said was really truth.
It wasn’t truth then, and it is not truth now. I know that, but I have to choose to LIVE that.
The challenge today is to stop living in the dynamics of high school. You may be 50, you may be 19. You may be well out of those halls, or you may be fresh out of the arena. Wherever you are in life, change the dynamics. As women we tend to hang onto everything we learned in those hallways. We tend to continue following the expectations, pairing off into groups, and comparing ourselves to one another.
Let’s change that. Today I’m leaving the halls of high school behind because I know that I was created to live for Someone else’s expectations.
Verse: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)