Last week at camp was hard.
Teenage Girls are hard.
Their outer shells are hard and calloused; while, inside, they are hurting, wanting so bad to be loved by others.
But, it’s so hard to love them when they hurt others. It’s so hard to love them when they’re just mean and nasty to each other. It’s so hard to love them when they have no respect for you. And it’s so hard to love them when they don’t love themselves.
Their sense of value and self-worth is based on how much they can hurt someone else to make themselves feel better. It’s so sad but true.
And last week they took that anger out on me. And it hurt.
- It hurt that they called me names.
- It hurt that they called me out on all my faults.
- It hurt that they wouldn’t stop.
- It hurt when they denied doing anything wrong.
- It hurt when they laughed about it.
But, most of all it hurt me because they were hurting.
Through disdained looks they judged me.
Through smart aleck remarks they judged me.
Through sneering and jabbing they judged me.
Through hurtful words they judged me.
Through sneering they judged me.
But, through words that, ironically hurt me, they were really begging for love.
Luckily, for me, I didn’t take what they said to heart. I didn’t care they called me mean, ugly, rude, a snob, bogus (whatever THAT means), a “smart ___ white girl.”
My self-worth does not come from whether or not our campers like me. My self-worth does not come from whether anyone likes me.
Someone will always hate peaches.
I will never be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s freeing to realize I will never please that ONE particular person(s) nor do I have to. My self-worth and value does not come for someone else’s view of me. It does (and only should) come from our Heavenly Maker and His grace alone.
Some will get me. Some will not. And that’s OK!
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
I know the girls last week didn’t mean what they said; I just think they have been fed a lie.
I think they’ve been taught they have to be the best at everything. They have to always be alert and aware of what’s going on around them to live up to the expectation that they are greater than those around them. They tear others down to lift themselves up. They laugh and make fun of others because it gets them attention–negative attention–but attention nonetheless. Therefore, they have won. They have won the attention of others. They have accomplished the task of being better….of winning. They have lived the lie:
- That they are the most important.
- That the world revolves around them.
- That they are always right.
Regardless of how many people get stepped on in the process, they have climbed the ladder of success.
But, that success is based on a worldly definition. A definition covered in shame, regret, hurt, pain, and self-worth that is steeped in how the world sees us, not God.
These girls live in a world that, although, they are loved; very few are cared for. Because if someone cared, then we would care enough to want them to change. And that’s scary.
Scary to admit that you could be different.
- That you could treat others with kindness instead of scorn.
- That you could lift someone else up instead of tearing them down.
- That you could use encouraging words instead of insults.
It would require a change of heart. A complete 180 degree turn. A difference. And, for some of these girls, staying on top is what keeps them alive. Therefore, they’re not ready to make that difference.
But, until they do, I will continue to pray for them.
I will pray they have eyes to see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.