January 31, 2019
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
Ninth grade was the first year I attended public school. All I wanted to do was fit in.
Within the first week of school, I started eating lunch with a group of girls who all bought their lunches — pizza and fries from the school cafeteria. I, on the other hand, brought my lunch — a sandwich, apples, yogurt and my mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. They all had boyfriends. I was completely inexperienced in that department. Their language was pretty salty, and the worst words to ever pass my lips until that time were “shut up.” Despite our differences, I wanted desperately to belong.
Part of the problem was I felt self-conscious about being labeled a nerd. Because so many other students weren’t interested in academic achievements, I didn’t want the not-so-sought-after-label of the “geeky girl.” Did I still want to achieve? Yeah, I did. But did I want to stand out among my peers? Nope. Not for being one of the “smart kids.”
One day I sat down at lunch and unzipped my red lunch box. The other girls were busy yapping about some teacher they didn’t like. I wanted them to know I thought that teacher was horrible, too. I wanted to join the conversation and figured it would be easier if I sounded like I belonged.
“I know, right?” I agreed. Then I continued to express my disapproval with a string of completely inappropriate expletives.
The table fell silent as six pairs of eyes stared at me, shocked at the foul words that had just fallen out of my mouth. Honestly, I was shocked, too.
Finally, one girl broke the silence.
“Girl, don’t even. You’re not doing it right. Just … don’t.” I felt my face flush with warmth. I had been trying to be someone I wasn’t, and I’d been called out. She was essentially saying: Do you, girl. Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself.
Embarrassed as I was, that hard lesson had a lasting impact. It was better to be me than try and be someone else. It was OK to be different.
Often we ignore, play down or dismiss our own value because we want to belong. We underestimate our worth, completely forgetting that there has never been, nor will there ever be, another person on this earth like us. But by failing to honor what makes us unique, we deny the gift of life God has entrusted us with and the distinctly beautiful person He’s made us to be.
You are more than the 37.2 trillion cells composing what you see in the mirror. You exist beyond the physical. You are an invisible, immaterial essence that’s more wonderfully woven together than anyone will ever know.
According to Genesis 1:26-28, you’re not an accident or an afterthought. You are a divinely created soul, made in the image of a living God.
Embracing the beauty of my differences has honestly been something I’ve had to learn. While I don’t do it perfectly, I’m definitely better at accepting my unique God-given design than I was in high school.
But many girls struggle to keep their special design in mind. They get ditched by the boy, fail the test, get yelled at by adults, snubbed by friends or disgusted by acne. Then those girls become women — ashamed of their bulges, discouraged by hard marriages, bored with unfulfilling careers or afraid of being alone. And those girls-turned-women are left wondering if they actually matter.
Well, we do matter. We matter because we have the gift of life given by a God who set us apart before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us God intentionally made us to be different. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
However, we must each choose to embrace our unique design and live serving the God who made us.
Do you, girl. Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself. God made you to be different.
Dear God, I want to live my life in a way that honors You. Forgive me for working hard to blend in when You created me to be different. Show me what You had in mind for my life when You created me. I want to live fully for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (NIV)
Is there a young woman in your life who needs encouragement to honor her unique and divine design? Pre-order Chrystal Evans Hurst’s newest book for teens, Show Up For Your Life: What the Girl You’ll Be Tomorrow Wants You to Know Today, HERE!
Download a free sample of Show Up For Your Life by Chrystal Evans Hurst, HERE.
Chrystal Evans Hurst loves to help women intentionally and consistently live moments that matter. You can connect with Chrystal, HERE.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What can you thank God for as it relates to your unique divine design? How can you show up for your life and honor the life He’s given you to live? Think of a young person or two in your life who could use encouragement to do the same, and encourage them today. Share your ideas in the comments section.
© 2019 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 31 January 2019.