I was twelve, in the seventh grade and about as awkward as you can possibly imagine. Here's the picture to prove it:
I was insecure. I had horrible teeth...that were just about ready to get braces. I was nearly blind although I had boycotted my glasses this year. I was an average student. I had a crush on a boy who didn't give me the time of day, and let's not even get started on my hair. I'll just tell you that in the fifth grade my mom should never have agreed to let me get that Dorothy Hamill haircut....because when you let it grow out it looks like this.
The other day I was thinking about how life is so very much like junior high. There will always be some physical trait I don't like about myself, there will always be something that I am not great at doing, there will always be someone who doesn't give me the time of day, there will always be evidence of bad decisions. It's exactly like Junior High...over and over again...
if you let it be. What I didn't tell you are some of the other GOOD things that were going on when I was in the 7th grade. That was the year the music pastor at our church ask me to start playing regularly at all the services. It was also the year that I started playing basketball and hitting a pretty good percentage of my three point shots from the top of the key. It was the year I started working in the bus ministry at our church and the year that I began keeping a journal. That journal also led to my first ever writing competition which resulted in a first place ribbon.
I'm not bragging. I'm just proving a point. Lately I've been having to remind myself that God is always busy working on me. Some of that work is unpleasant. It's refining. It requires seeing things about myself that I don't like. The ugly parts of my heart. But in that same work and that same time He is producing something that is pleasant and good and first place. I may have to work through a bad haircut to see the beauty of a bus ministry but perspective plays a huge part in how we feel about ourselves.
Before you write yourself off, before you throw in the towel because your circumstances or situation is painful or overwhelming or lousy, be sure to list the good that He is working out in your life. That's what I'm preaching to myself these days and reminding myself that I don't want to be in junior high forever.