What every high school girl needs to know.
You are heading into a new school year and whether it's for the first time or the fourth time, the first day of high school is always a beast on its own. You are probably picking out your new outfit and are deciding on what cute notebook to buy to write in with your awesome colored pens. Maybe you are preparing your jersey for the season or marching in the summer heat in the school parking lot. Wherever you find yourself these last few weeks before school I want you to take some time for you. Take some time to think about who you are, who you belong to, and how you are going to choose to handle all that high school has to offer.
I remember high school and how busy, stressful, and crazy it could be. I also remember if done right, how fun it could be! I am also a high school teacher and I see young ladies every day survive high school. Some make good decisions and others make bad decisions. There is no formula to obtaining the perfect high school experience. I cannot promise that you will be popular or have someone to sit with every day at lunch. I cannot promise that the guy you are crushing on will ask you out. I cannot promise that you will not be stressed to the max or your friends will always have your back. But I can promise that God is working for your good and nothing can separate us from His love! (Romans 8:28-39) Therefore, I can say with confidence that if you love Him, and lean on Him, he will guide you and not lead you astray.
Everyone will have a different high school experience. Therefore, I have created a list that I think all high school girls can relate to that hopefully will help you survive high school. This list is not complete and I am sure I will miss issues but from my high school experience and what I deal with as a teacher, these are things I think you should know as you start your new year and new journey. So here goes!
1. Know who you are and who you belong to. Tommy Tenney in his book Hadassah said, "First you must be someone who knows who she is and how she fits into the world, who needs no one but God to make her a whole person." If you are trying to find out who you are, do not turn to the world but turn to God to define you. You are His child, a royal priesthood! "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9) Let God and his word tell you who you are not the world or your peers!
2. You are a whole person. Like the quote above says, you do not need anyone but God to make you a whole person. You are not half a person waiting for some young gentleman to become your other other half so you can be a whole person! If you have this half person mindset you will always be in search of your other half and when that "other half" cannot satisfy you, you will begin to question your own half and identity. God is the only one that can truly satisfy you completely.
3. Others don't get to control you. As young women we like to measure ourselves up to each other. We want to be like the girl with perfect shiny hair who is in an adorable relationship with her cute boyfriend and posts the cutest pictures on Instagram. And we think to ourselves, life goals and we try to change to become like that person. Let me tell you a little secret, it usually backfires because in the end, that is not you! Don't allow the way other girls live their lives define you! Because what you don't know is, the "perfect" girl is also envying someone else's relationship and outfit. You be you!
4. No one can make you feel inferior except you. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." As I grow older I am finding this to be more true than ever! So don't wait until you are older to realize that the only reason someone is making you feel low or bad about yourself is because you are allowing them to do so.
5. Its okay to make mistakes. You are not perfect, shocker I know. You will fall but always make sure you get back up. We should learn from our mistakes. This is not a free pass to go out and sin and say, "well its okay to make mistakes!" You know what is right and what is wrong. But sometimes we think we are doing something right and it ends up being a mistake or maybe we just didn't know the full consequences of our actions. The best thing about making a mistake is that God offers grace. Psalms 37:24 says, "though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand." You will stumble along the path of life but remember, that God's hand of grace and mercy will not allow you to fall if you accept His hand.
6. You cannot make everyone happy. Trust me on this one. You are going to offend people and you are going to hurt people and hopefully its not on purpose! If its on purpose, you brought it on yourself! But sometimes we are naive and we say things or do things that we don't realize are offending or hurting someone else. Ask for forgiveness from that person and then move on. If they choose not to forgive you, its on them. If you live your life trying to make everyone happy all the time you will be miserable and eventually find that your life is dictated by what others think or feel. This is the hardest one for me to swallow because I want everyone to be happy and to like me. But if you strive to make others like you, you will find that you are changing your life and sometimes even values, to align to what other people want and you are not being your true self. This is not an excuse to be unkind and live your life according to what you want all the time but like Cinderella's mom said, have courage and be kind. As long as you seek to be kind and have the courage to do your best even when someone else does not like it, at least you know you have done what you feel is right (with God's guidance of course).
7. You have the right to say no. Don't let anyone talk you into doing something you do not feel is right or appropriate. Even if it may hurt a friendship or relationship, you need to stand up for yourself and say no. Because in the end if a friendship or relationship is pushing you to do something that you do not feel is right, then you do not need to be around or with that person anyway!
8. Stay pure and keep your love sacred. Your purity is one of your greatest treasures. Set your standards high and you will aim high. Set your standards low and you will aim low. If you aim low, you will find that you will be attracting people who also are aiming low and you will find yourself being dragged lower. Like I said above, you have the right to say no. Your body is a holy temple and you need to treat it as such. Don't allow a relationship to go too far and you find yourself having to pick up the pieces later because you thought you really loved him. If you find yourself falling in love with every boy that walks by you, is it really love or just an infatuation? As cheesy as this sounds, true love waits. Consider the love you have to give sacred and something you treasure. If you have been unsuccessful in this department already, know that God forgives and His love covers all. Make a new commitment to purity and guarding your love today. Purity is a lifestyle and not defined by one mistake. Purity is something you should be striving for in all areas of your life.
9. Your faith is determined on how big you see God. If you see God as all powerful and all knowing then you will have faith that God can do anything! But if you put God in a box and think he is not powerful enough to handle your situation, then you will not have faith enough that your situation will be taken care of!
10. Know what you believe and fall in love with the Truth. If you do not know what you believe and what is true, then how are you going to witness to your friend when they ask you why you don't do certain things, or why you dress a certain way, etc.? You have to know for yourself what you believe. Look to scripture and someone you trust to teach you! If you know what you believe now, then you will not only know how to answer someone with confidence and clarity, but you will also be less likely to be swayed by the lies of the world. If you fall in the love with the Truth now, then it is more than just a list of rules and rituals you have to follow but, it will become a lifestyle you are willing to live because of the love you have for God.
11. Set a time everyday to spend with God. This is vital to maintaining a walk with God. This will also give you time to reflect and pray on the situations that you will face or already have faced that day. Find a bible study book to work through. I have tons of suggestions on this blog and the Christian book stores also have great studies to work through. Find one that works best for you or a passage of scripture you want to study and read the word! Also remember in this time to talk openly to God. Its like having a conversation with your best friend. Tell Him everything! He already knows it all so its no use in hiding anything! This quiet time with God will be your saving grace throughout the week from Sunday to Sunday. I know this to be so true and it is something that I still cherish to this day!
12. Find a mentor! Find someone who will be willing to invest into your life and pray for you. Find someone who you can tell everything to and she will be willing to tell you the truth even if it hurts. Find someone that can hold you accountable! Do not choose someone of the opposite gender and someone who is your age. Find a mentor that is older so you can glean from their wisdom! Friends are great to confide in but lets be honest, they are going through the same things as you are. They may not be able to see the whole picture as someone who has already seen the repercussions to that same situation. Parents can also be good people to talk to if you let them. On that note, please know they love you and want the best for you.
13. Get involved! Many people who have gone through high school will tell you that one thing they wished they could change was to be more involved. Find something you are interested in and get involved in that club or event! You get to know more people and perhaps you will have more opportunity to witness to others! Don't be afraid to get involved because you think you you need to be separate from these "sinful high schoolers". Like I said above, hold your standards high and you will be setting an example for them and trust me, they will notice! The best times in high school was when I was involved in plays and the yearbook. Those memories are what I remember most and I still talk to people who I worked with during those times!
14. Choose your friends wisely. I think this one goes without saying but in the end, girls still do not listen! Your friends are a huge influence in how you will act. Choose ones that encourage you but also tell you the truth. Choose friends that will not pressure you into doing something you do not feel comfortable doing. Choose friends that you are not afraid to bring home to meet your parents! Choose friends that you are not afraid to bring to church! Choose friends that do not start drama. Drama will make your life more stressful. Again, trust me on this one. You are already trying to make good grades and hopefully get involved and juggle your home life on top of all that. YOU DO NOT NEED ANYMORE DRAMA! So be careful who you allow closest to you because they will be your greatest influence.
15. Finally, when all is said and done, have fun. Enjoy being young! High school brings new opportunities and freedoms so don't ruin it with bad decisions, but also do not be afraid to live your life. As long as you are seeking God's kingdom first, (Matthew 6:33) you will be in His will. So seek God's kingdom and all He has for you in high school. Let Him loose in your life and just see how much fun you will have!
So there you have it! 15 things that will help you survive high school. Like I said before, this is not a complete list and I know I left out some of the obvious things like, do your homework and respect your parents but, hopefully you are already doing those things after surviving middle school! When all is said and done do what Mark Batterson said in his book, The Circle Maker, "dream big, pray hard, and think long" and I like to add, remember you are not alone.
Love, A survivor of High School
"Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1Thessalonians 5:6-18
P.S. In case I left something out and you have already survived high school or are still in high school and have some advice that you think that these girls need to know, please feel free to comment below!