I’m currently balancing the edge of twenty-two and twenty-three, and the reminiscent piece of me has been reflecting on my life so far (no one should be surprised by this). In flicking through photos of the days gone by, I remembered this one girl that I met in 2012 and knew pretty well until 2020.
She was a nice enough girl. Wanted the best for her family and friends, spent time enjoying pretty art and emotional music, loved a good adventure and treated her life as such. We met in high school, when the both of us were sorting through the things you have to sort through when you're thirteen. She was comfortable and honest with me, but made me feel like I was in the right. She was a great pal.
But, as all do, she had her share of demons.
Her desire to be loved and known for who she truly was surmounted her love for others. She tried to be beautiful for the wrong ones, placed her esteem in the hands of the people around her, and fell deeply into the pool of mild narcissism, self-preservation, and despair.
She hurt a lot of people she loved. She hurt herself.
But through time, this friend of mine saw the wreckage in her wake and tried to make amends with those who would hear her out.
Eventually, the sorry’s would seem insufficient and the hurt would become insurmountable. This callous young girl was simply ridden with insecurity and doubt, prayerful that one day she might just vanish, in deepest hopes that the pain she caused would also.
And she did, for the most part.
I actually did know a lot of people with tales like this growing up, but this is my story. The story of how, in thirteen years I turned my natural joy, the birthright, into mourning, and in another ten years I turned my pain into self-absolution. I healed. I grew. I sought forgiveness and mercy. Compassion filled this slow-beating heart once more, and an effervescent love flowed through my veins again. I began to become the person God built me to be.
That girl doesn’t live in this house anymore.
During this transition in my heart and life, I felt this Bible verse call to me constantly:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:17
Deciding to grow up was easy, but the practical portion of the task were some the most painful things I've had to do so far. Choosing to walk from the things I'd known for my entire life, dealing with the health, skin, and body issues that come alongside changes we initiate (and those that we don't), and the endless feeling in the pit of my stomach that I will never be enough for anyone.
I am reassured, now, that Christ has made me new. The inadequacy is inaccurate, the pain is past, and the peace that I have is persistent:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. see, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland - Isaiah 43:18-19
I can't comfortably sit here and say that I have become perfect. I have not. At all.
No matter the distance, she is still a part of me.
She’s a part of all of us, the part that wakes when we worry. The part that appears lest desired, turning tables and making messes of the neatly-drawn-out plans. The child within that calls in time and time again to check up, cause some trouble, and leave with haste.
Remind yourself that you are made NEW. That the old ways no longer hold you, and you are freed from the past.
I’m glad I’ve grown up, but I’m glad I knew her. It might sound strange (and potentially psychotic, sorry), but I’m of the belief that sometimes we become what we’re not to uncover who we really are. We are those who learn by doing, and in the wrong I've done I've learned the right.
Either way, I'm still only twenty-two.
I'm not going to pretend that I know it all,
But I can try to know a bit.