Investing in the lives of middle school girls has stirred my heart in ways that I never deemed imaginable. I’ve always known my middle school years were a daily uphill battle, but looking at the life of a pre-teen girl now that I’m in my twenties suddenly seems much worse.
It absolutely breaks my heart that the world we live in fills the lives of our young women with insecurities instead of confidence, doubt instead of courage and anger instead of grace. I believe one of the most important things we can offer our younger generation is a life that instills them with high self-esteem, empowerment and makes them believe that the world is theirs.
I’ve been praying and seeking the right words to share with my sister who is on the verge of thirteen and in full middle-school mode, my precious 8th grade small group girls and all of the other beautiful middle school girls in the world on how to navigate this chapter of their lives. So, I began to think about what I wish I could have told myself then…
Dear Middle School Me,
That horrific hair cut you just got will one day grow into a pretty rockin’ hair doo. Those braces will come off eventually and make you proud to show your teeth. You’ll get much faster at shaving your legs so you don’t have to spend and hour and a half getting ready each morning and you’ll learn how to prevent that makeup line Mom is always smearing in for good.
The boys will come and go. The attention is fun & good, but guard heart for one day you will meet someone that seems to be created just for you. Be the girl who walks with poise and modesty. The girl that makes them wonder and not the one they get to tell everyone about.
I wish I could give you a magic potion to make the mean girls disappear, but the bad news is that they never will. As you grow older, the mean things they do will just turn into different mean things. But, there are three things to remember when dealing with the issue of mean girls: 1. Caution yourself to not become one, even when it’s easy to slip into the gossip. 2. Remember that you ARE beautiful and wonderfully made in God’s image. The things they say about you or to you should not diminish your self worth. 3. Kill their evil with good. I’m not saying what they do isn’t bad, I’m simply telling you that extending grace and taking the high road will always end with you on top and them wishing they could be more like you.
And finally, you’re not a kid anymore. You’re 100% your own person, seeking to find your identity. Sometimes that’s what makes everything so hard. But as you set out to figure out who you are, start with figuring out who you are in your relationship with Jesus. If you can make your faith your own, you can make your life your own … and one that you are proud to live.
Be patient. Love others. Give grace. Know that you are BEAUTIFUL & POWERFUL. The world is yours. And, the best is yet to come.
With all my heart,
Your 21-year-old self