What I Learned in High School
When I was a sophomore in high school I went through an interesting time. By choice, I started to separate myself from my friends. In adolescence your friends are truly everything, and I felt totally and completely alone. I remember thinking that I must be “depressed” because I had never felt so low or lonely in my entire life. In the middle of the night one evening I couldn’t take it anymore.
I woke up my mother sobbing and asked her to help me. She came out into the living room and first asked me some questions. “Do you know who you are?” She asked me. Honestly, I didn’t. I felt lost and like I was worthless. She then knelt down and held my hands as I sobbed and said, “You are a daughter of God, and He thinks you are amazing.” She then offered a prayer. I don’t remember everything that she said, but I remember feeling peace. I felt loved. I went to sleep that night determined not to lose that feeling. I was determined to study the scriptures every day, and end each night on my knees in prayer.
Every night following that evening, I spent 30 minutes studying the scriptures and finished the evening verbally praying out loud to my Father in Heaven. I felt a circle of peace surrounding me every single night, and every single night, I felt loved. About a month or so after doing this consistently I had an experience that I will never forget. I had just finished praying out loud and I had been crying. I then went over to my mirror in my bedroom and just stared at myself. As strange as it may sound, I just stared at myself for around 10 minutes, if not more. I looked different. For awhile, I couldn’t figure it out. Something had changed, I looked more beautiful. Then I realized something. I hadn’t been looking at my hair, my “body”, or my teeth. I had been only looking at one thing, my eyes. I was beautiful. My soul was beautiful. I was emanating light. As I drew closer to my father in heaven my countenance changed. I understood that I truly was a daughter of God. A daughter of a king.
As I was studying in the bible recently I realized something. As Jesus was preparing to start his earthly ministry Satan was working hard on him (Luke 4-5). Satan tried to make the Savior doubt his worth. He said, “if thou be the son of God (Luke 4:3)”. Satan KNEW that Jesus Christ was in fact the son of God, yet he pushed to place doubt within his mind. He wants us to doubt that we are literal sons and daughters of God, because if we are, nothing shall be impossible. I think that’s exactly why Satan works so hard on adolescents. They are at that critical age where they are trying to figure out WHO they are, what their purpose is, and how they have a place on earth.
In the picture book, You Are Special by Max Lucado, there is a wooden person named Punchinello who doubts his worth. Other wooden people see his flaws, lack of confidence, and mistakes and stick dot stickers on him to mark how flawed he is. Other wooden people who are doing great things are marked with stars. One day he meets a wooden girl who has no dots or stars. He is shocked and asks how she does it. She states that every single day she goes and sees Eli, their maker. Finally Punchinello decides to see Eli as well. Eli simply states, “You are special because I made you, and I don’t make mistakes.” He then tells Punchinello that if he comes to see him every single day, he will remind him just how special he is, because the only opinion that truly matters is his, for he is his maker. As punchinello leaves he starts to believe Eli and a dot falls off.
I often feel like punchinello. I doubt my worth and focus too much on what others think of me, rather than spending time with my maker, and focusing on what he thinks of me. As I was studying my scriptures in the bible recently I read Luke 2:52 where it talks about how Jesus “GREW in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” I noticed that in the footnote it says the words, “study” “relationships with the father”. Surely as Jesus studied he gained a closer relationship with his father in heaven, as do we. Studying God’s words builds a relationship with him. In the New Testament 2019 Come Follow Me manual it discusses Luke 4 where Satan is tempting the Savior and it states, “But the Savior had communed with His Father in Heaven. He KNEW the scriptures, and He KNEW who He was.”
My sophomore self was immediately changed. I suddenly realized that I didn’t need friends or any other person or thing to make me happy. I simply needed God. Why is that powerful? Well it’s powerful because I realized that I literally was a DAUGHTER of GOD! What does that mean? It means I am of infinite worth, and coming to know that also means that I suddenly understood that every single human being is also of infinite worth! It changes not only my thoughts about myself, my potential, my worth, but it also changes my perspective on every single person I come in contact with as well. C.S. Lewis said,
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship [them].”
If we are lenient in our personal worship, those stickers begin to stick, but if we take time to read God’s word everyday we too can grow in wisdom and stature. We too, can build a relationship with our father in heaven. We too can come to KNOW of our infinite worth. Jesus is the Christ. He died for me. He died for you. And you know what, as difficult as it must have been to watch, I’m pretty sure with tears in my eyes, I begged him to die for me. I needed him to die for me. He was resurrected. He lives. He is my savior. Through him I can have peace in all things. I love him. As I strive to spend each day with him, I will be filled with light. My countenance will continue to get brighter. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (St. Matthew 6:22).
Seek him. Come to know him. Let him remind you everyday just how special YOU are. You will have peace amidst the most difficult of circumstances and trials. You will come to know that You Are a Child of God and that knowledge will change you.