Somehow, I have made it 27 years without watching the movie “Mean Girls”. That is until a few months ago when my cousins asked me to watch it with them. I lasted maybe 30 minutes (true story). I kept thinking to myself how unrealistic the movie was.
Until recently, I was blinded to the meanness that many girls experience on a daily basis. My husband and I are Children’s Pastors, and we get the opportunity to work with students. Recently, an event was held at the church by our amazing Youth Pastor’s wife. This event, “You are Loved,” was geared for middle school and high school girls and the message was clear: You are loved. I had the great privilege of getting to pray for girls during altar time. There were numerous girls who came asking me to pray for them because of something someone had said to them that negatively affected them. One girl was insecure because a boy had called her a name. One of the girls I had watched grow up in Kids church said something to me that broke my heart. She grabbed my hands, looked me in the eyes and began to cry. She said, “Mrs. Summer, can you pray with me? I just feel so worthless.”
My heart sank. My eyes filled with tears. How could someone so precious, so beautiful, think she was worthless. As I prayed with her, she began to cry, and so did I. When I finished praying she went on with her night, but I went home with a heavy heart. My heart broke to think of how many other girls felt this way because of things that had happened to them. And how many girls felt this way because of other girls.
Girls put so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way, to dress the best, to have the most friends and to be the most popular. They base their worth on what everyone thinks of them and they spend all of their middle school and high school years trying to “fit in” rather than being who God created them to be.
This one is hard but so valuable. There will always be someone who is better at something than you. There just will be. And you can’t be good at EVERYTHING (trust me; I used to beat myself up over this). God made You, You… not someone else. He didn’t make you with blonde hair. Or red. He gave you brown hair. Be okay with that. So you can’t dance? You don’t even know the lyrics to the latest hit song. Justin Beiber, who is that? Who cares about all those things? Stop trying to be like someone else. You will be miserable and it’s EXHAUSTING, because that’s not who you are supposed to be. You cannot possibly be someone else because God didn’t make you someone else. Truthfully, that “someone else” is probably comparing herself to “someone else” and wishing she was like that person…Be You. And quit comparing.
“Cause girl you’re amazing, Just the Way You Are”.. (Shout out to Bruno Mars for the reminder.)
Your beauty doesn’t radiate from the outside in. It radiates from the inside out. Meaning: You can be the prettiest person on the outside, but if you are mean and ugly on the inside then you really aren’t pretty at all. Want to know what the difference is between a pretty person and an ugly person? Their heart. Simply put, the only person that can create a pure heart is Christ. Choose to be a Christ follower. This can be difficult, and even scary, in the world you are living in. Want to know what makes my heart skip a thousand times over? When I see girls following Christ. I can spot that person a mile away. Why? Because they have this glow, this radiant presence about them.
Let me say this again. GUYS DON’T DEFINE YOU. This is so important! You are probably thinking I know nothing about this, but you’re wrong. I was there. I was a boy crazy middle schooler and high schooler who would do anything to have that cute boy look my way. I thought I had to have a boyfriend, and that I was ugly if I didn’t. Can I just say…God has the perfect one for you. He created someone JUST for YOU. No one else. Don’t waste your time trying to be the girlfriend of the latest popular guy (because let’s be real, each school year a new cute guy arises from the group). Wait. Wait until you find the One for you. You don’t want your future husband to have had all these other girlfriends do you? Why would you want to date all these other guys? And while we are being honest, very rarely do you find your husband in middle school. There are those few who become high school sweethearts, but in most cases you aren’t going to find The One until after high school. Do not let some guy, who years later will mean nothing to you, define you. Your worth is not based on “some guy.” You’re worth far more than that.
Ouch, this one hurts. But, really. You have that feeling of being left out. It hurts, doesn’t it? You also hate that feeling of someone making fun of you. It’s embarrassing. And we won’t even mention how it feels when other girls are talking about you. So why would you do the same? Don’t be a mean girl. Set the example, love other girls and be that girl who stands up for the one who is getting made fun of. Be a friend to that girl who sits by herself in the cafeteria. Stand up for the girl that others are talking about. Refuse to participate in talking behind other girls’ backs. Us girls need to stick together. Life is hard enough in school. Let’s not make it harder by being mean to each other.
I hate to tell you this but life really does go on. It may not seem like it now, but one day you’ll be out of middle school. One day you’ll be out of high school, and you’ll look back and realize all that nonsense didn’t really matter. Yup, I said it. In high school I thought everything was life or death. I mean it was a BIG deal. I just knew I had to be popular because that would be my label for the rest of my life. I couldn’t see past what was going on right then. Thankfully, life moves on past high school. The friends in my life now don’t care if I was “popular” or not. I don’t get a trophy for having the most friends in high school. Nor do I have some badge showing how many school clubs I was president of. Just remember: middle school and high school are temporary. Don’t waste your time trying to be the most popular, the coolest, the prettiest. Just be you. One day, none of the other stuff will matter. And just when you think something is a BIG deal (like the latest fight you got into with this girl who hates you) just remember, it’s not. Life goes on. Make up. Be friends. Don’t let those precious years be wasted on fights, competitions and trying to kill yourself fitting in. God made you who you are. Be You.
Even when you feel others don’t. The girl I told you about at the altar has a back story. Her father left when she was a little girl. No goodbye. No contact with her at all. She is struggling to find her worth because the guy in her life who was supposed to love her the most, care for her, and protect her, left. She is struggling to love herself because she feels she is unworthy of love. I’ve been there too, but with mother figures in my life. I say mothers because it’s happened to me more than once. And it does something to you. It breaks your heart. It causes you to question everything about yourself. Instead of loving yourself, it causes you to find all the things wrong with you; all the things that would make you unworthy of love. But Jesus doesn’t just love some of us, He loves us all. He loves you so much. He loves you even when your earthly father doesn’t. His heart breaks for you. He loves you when your mom leaves you. He loves you when your best friend hurts you. He loves you when you’ve been betrayed by people who were supposed to take care of you. He loves you when you feel unlovable. He loves you at your best and at your worst. He loves you so incredibly much. He loves you. Really loves you. And He wants you to love you.
So Dear one… Love who you are. Learn to love those freckles that you feel are a blemish you wish you didn’t have. Love that gap between your teeth that you feel makes your smile so ugly. Love that awkward growing stage. Love your clumsiness. Love your laugh and quit trying to change it (I tried it once, it doesn’t work;)). Love the dark hair God gave you and stop wishing for the blonde. Love having artistic abilities and quit wishing you could be sporty like the star volleyball player. Love being on the sidelines cheering your friends on when they get an award and you don’t. Love that curly hair you have and quit envying your friends straight hair (secretly she’s wishing for curly hair). Let’s quit competing against each other. We are all girls trying to find our way. Let’s encourage one another, lift each other up and love one another by first loving ourselves.
Love who God has made you to be. Exactly her. That’s beauty under pressure. That’s what it means to be a pearl amongst the stones.