One of my favorite movies growing up was High School Musical. I would watch that movie over and over and over and over again until my parents grew weary of it. I imagined that the movie accurately portrayed what high school was like. Boy, was I wrong!
Although the goal of High School Musical is to enact normal aspects of high school, it fails to encompass the “messiness” of life. Personally, high school was full of stress. Stress over my grades, my friend groups, my appearance, what people thought about me, sports teams, making my parents proud, being who God called me to be…you get the picture. I’m certain every one of us has felt the overwhelming presence of stress whether you attend a public high school, private high school, charter school, or you’re homeschooled.
However, in the midst of all the chaos, drama, and stress, there were some sweet memories made in high school. Memories such as Friday night football games where we would all badger the refs and the opposing team’s players even when our own team was getting their butts handed to them. Or, memories like when we hiked up a mountain at one in the morning, in the rain, on a school night, in order to see the blood moon, but ended up having the perfect view of a large cloud. It’s memories like these that I wish I had more of. I wish I would have let go of all the stress, and just enjoyed my life as a high school student more. That’s why I wanted to write this post. As school is about to begin, and many of you want to make the most of these four years in high school, here’s a few things I want to share with you in order to make that happen.
1. Seize the Day
Seriously, take advantage of every God-given opportunity to have fun, or to do something beyond yourself. Don’t just float through life waiting for the world to hand you stuff. Make the most of the life you are given. There were so many times in high school that I gave up on opportunities that I wish I hadn’t. The result of leaving these opportunities behind was missing out on some awesome memories. In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul warns us of the brevity of our lives, and how we shouldn’t waste them away.
“Be very careful, then, how you live
not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)
Even Christ calls us to live for every moment. So find the courage sit with the lonely kid at lunch, or to talk to the dreamboat you catch yourself staring at in the middle of class. Find the nerve to ask for help when you need it, or to share Jesus with someone even if it means getting made fun of. Find the audacity to go to the Friday night football game even when you don’t feel pretty, or to go to the prom without a date on your arm! Live in the now. Forget the past, forget the stress, and, as the saying goes, “Carpe Diem.”
2. Boyfriends/Girlfriends are overrated.
You don’t need a boyfriend, or a girlfriend (for my fellow male readers) to complete you.
*insert gasp here*
Yes, I said it. Whoever made up that standard anyway? I can honestly say that during high school, I felt more complete without the one “boyfriend” I had. Granted, having someone who likes you and buys you things is nice, it is not necessary for you to have this person. Especially in high school, because let’s face it, the odds of a couple lasting after high school is slim to none. I have only ever known a select few whose relationships have lasted after high school. I’m not saying that if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend right now you should break-up with them. Kudos to you for having one. However, I am saying that being single in high school is not a horrible thing. I enjoyed it! I felt closer to my friends, my family, and to God. I had more time to do the things I wanted to do, and I didn’t have to worry about whether or not my actions were going to upset my so-called other. So don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t being asked out. Don’t let the annoying couples in the hallways get you down. Your time to date and experience love will come. You just have to trust that God will provide.
3. Cast your worries on God
Man. I really wish I would have relied on God more. I honestly believe that if I would have, high school would have been a whole lot smoother. High school, like I said, is stressful. It is full of good days and bad days, and full of questioning God’s sovereignty over our lives We must learn to laugh at these bad days and trust in God’s plan, though. So often, I rely on my thoughts and opinions of how life should be and of myself, instead of God’s thoughts and opinions. I lead myself to believe that I am not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc. to succeed in life. I let the hurtful words and actions of others get to me, and more often than not I let life get the best of me. I disregard the will of God and try to live life on my own strength. (Fyi, trying to do life on my own NEVER works out.)
Christ offers us freedom from our burdens.
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
So throw your worries, your insecurities, your burdens, and your desire to control your life to God. He’s a big God; He can handle it. What’s better yet, He wants to handle it because He loves us, and cares about us. Trust God, and let Him relinquish the heavy burdens you carry.
4. Read more.
Here’s a short one for you.
Read, read, read.
Reading is undervalued. There is so much knowledge out there, and all you have to do to find it is to open up a book and read about it. So enlighten yourself with the hopes and dreams of people in a world before your time. Educate yourself on how to be better at something. Edify yourself with the knowledge that comes from reading God’s word.
Read, read, read.
5. You are beautiful in every way
What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. You do not have to look like the model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine in order to be beautiful. That isn’t even real beauty. It’s all photoshopped so that girls and guys, like us, can feel horrible about our body image.
But guess what?
I have scripture for you 🙂
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I’ve talked about this before in a previous blog. (Beautiful Soul) We are all beautiful in every way and there is no need for us to beat ourselves up over whether or not we meet the world’s standards. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If God sees you as beautiful, is there really anything more that you need to say that you are beautiful?
5. Listen to your parents
My parents, your parents, are not stupid. I am so so so so so thankful for the TWO sets of parents God has given me. Whether we’d like to believe it or not, they have walked a mile in our shoes before. Our parents are our biggest fans. They want to see us succeed, so when our parents give us advice or make rules for us to follow, chances are they are giving them to us for a reason. I know that sometimes we think our parents are crazy and that they literally want us to never have any fun. But that is far from the truth. If your parents are anything like mine, they would lay down their life for you because they love you and care about you! Don’t see them as a hindrance. See them as the nurturers they are. They want what’s best for you, so don’t be a fool and not take the advice they give you.
6. Always stay humble and kind
Last, but most certainly not least, always be humble and always be kind. Humility is hard to come by in this day in age, but it can open up more doors than you thought were possible. In high school, everyone feels they have something to prove. Truth be told, you don’t have to prove anything. Even if you are all that and a bag of chips, it’ll be more gratifying to you and everyone around you if you don’t show it off. Humility also means putting others before yourself. This is something I struggle with because I instinctively think that this life is all about Lauren. Reality check…it isn’t. It is crucial that we live to value others before ourselves.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit. Rather, in humility value others
Phillipians 2:3 (NIV)
Kindness, is a rare gem. Even though it is not all that hard to offer it has such a significant impact on those around you. Don’t be afraid to show a little generosity and grace to others, especially if they may not deserve it. I don’t mean to Jesus juke you here, but the Man himself died on the Cross to save all of our undeserving selves. The least we can do is show some kindness to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“She opens her mouth and the
teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Proverbs 31:26 (ESV)
I could honestly go on and on about things I wish I would have done or known differently in high school, but the six above are at the top of my list. I guarantee you, if you try at least a couple of these out, you’ll see the difference I’m talking about.
Don’t let the stress of life, and of growing up crush you. Embrace the fact that life is life and things happen. Make the most of what you’ve got and laugh at the days to come. This is going to be an awesome year for a lot of us, and I’m so excited for anyone reading this post.
Make it count for Him,