Monday, September 14, 2020

when friends seem few...

To the teen girl, trying to find her "people":

Oh my goodness, sometimes this "friendship" thing seems hard. Sometimes you feel like you don't really have anybody you connect with--the people around just don't really seem to want you around, or you've found out that you've outgrown the friends you used to have so much in common with. You look at your childhood friends and realize that as you've started to grow up, you've started to grow apart.

The teenage years are far from easy. You're in a body that has become foreign to you, dealing with a mind that seems to have become your enemy at times, and prisoner to hormones that definitely don't seem to have your best interests at heart. You feel like you don't fit anywhere--at school, at home, or in your own body.

But can I tell you something? You're not supposed to fit right now.

You're in that in between, the time when you're not a little girl anymore but you aren't really grown up, either. The whole world is trying to convince you of who you should become, how you should look, how you should act. And all those girls who have been there with you through the childhood part of your life? They're in the same boat. That means all of you have lost your minds together, which makes it incredibly hard to be together.

You're not supposed to fit, because if you fit you get comfortable. And if you're comfortable, you stop growing. Right now, the only one you need to try to fit with is God. He's the One who can help you figure out which pieces of the childhood you should be kept and which pieces should be tossed away to make room for the new. He's the One who has designed you and who is shaping you into who He wants you to be.

Sometimes, that shaping is hard. Sometimes it takes grinding or scraping or melting or squeezing. It is so worth it, though. These hard times you find yourself in the middle of will create a treasure that can withstand the pressure and the flames of an uncertain future.

But that's the future, which I know is hard to think about. Right now, you're in the middle of the hard stuff. You're facing the fire and feel like you're alone--but I hope you remember that you're never alone. Remember the fiery furnace? And when Jonah called out from the belly of the fish? And when Peter started sinking on the waves? And in Lamentations when Jeremiah was crying out in the midst of the devastation of Israel?

Even right now--maybe especially right now--God is with you in the hard time. He's close enough to be able to whisper in your ear, and He's got you. He's holding you and there's no power that can ever be strong enough to pull you out of His grip.

One day, you'll feel the pieces of your soul start to slide into place. You'll start to learn who God wants you to be and you'll see glimpses of why you've gone through the hard things to make you who you are.

I'm not saying it will all make sense, or that suddenly one day you'll find "your people" and feel like you fit in the world. To be honest, I've never gotten to that place myself. I still have times when I wonder who my friends are, where my "tribe" is. I don't have a big group of friends who all hang out together and bring their families together for barbeques. I do, however, have a friend I've been able to count on for more than 20 years now, one I can count on no matter how little we've seen each other. I have family (blood and not) I know will love me no matter what. I have a husband who has stood next to me through all my craziness and who loves me in spite of myself.

Most of all, though, I have a God who promises me that He's always close enough to whisper in my ear.

He's your "people" and that will never change.

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