I am LOVING all the back to school pictures. It blows my mind to see how so many of these kids that I have seen grow up are entering elementary school or middle school or HIGH SCHOOL. How are they getting older when I am completely the same age as I’ve always been? So weird. So many people I love are entering new chapters and a reason I love the cliche first day pictures is because it reminds me to pray for these kiddos (& mamas!). I can’t even imagine Caleb entering kindergarten, much less high school. But as a wife to a student ministries director, I would love to encourage those high schoolers (specifically girls because hello, I’m a girl) as they start off a new year. And what better way than to link up with Andrea for Show & Tell: Advice to our High School Selves. Because BELIEVE ME, hindsight is 20/20. 😉
1. BE OKAY WITH FIGURING OUT YOU.
I feel like one of the cliche things we like to tell people is ‘Be Yourself.’ Which is all fine and dandy until you are a high school girl and don’t have a clue who yourself is. Thinking back to high school, I was trying SO HARD to fit in with all the people around me and didn’t know at all who Raven actually was. All my life I had loved to read and really had no desire to do sports. Once I reached high school, this left me floundering to still want to fit in but not knowing my ‘place.’ High school version of me would never have been able to joke about not being the least bit athletic and just owning that. Today’s me is all about saying no to playing some sand volleyball, because well I don’t want to. So give yourself some grace while you figure out what you like and don’t like.. And don’t ever alter those things just because it’s what everyone else is doing.
2. QUIT COMPARING.
This one is pretty much hand in hand with the first one, but a little different. I was the absolute queen of comparison. I desperately wanted to be just like my sister.. gorgeous and fun and again with the athleticism. She wasn’t the only one I compared myself to though. Anyone I thought was better at whatever it was that seemed ‘right’. As girls, isn’t this so often our natural go-to? Even when we are adults. Just STOP IT. Comparison is never helpful and most often it is just lies in your mind. So just tell satan NOT TODAY and move on.
3. HIGH SCHOOL ISN’T FOREVER.
I know this is shocking. Everything seems SO IMPORTANT right now. Like it is going to make or break the rest of your life. But guess what? It’s just four short years. That high school boyfriend? Not forever (at least most the time). Even your best friends? Chances are they are not going to be your forever besties, even as many times as you write BFFL. Life will keep moving forward and you will have the opportunity to meet so many more people in different seasons of life that just GET YOU. So if high school is not your jam, hold on to hope that it will in fact end. And if high school is your jam, chances are you will love college just as much.
4. LISTEN TO WISDOM. ESPECIALLY GODLY WISDOM.
If I could shout anything to the high school Raven, it would be this. Your parents actually DO know things. But hey, maybe you don’t feel like discussing certain things with your parents because it is just plain awkward. I get that. But I STRONGLY encourage you to find a lady at your church that maybe you think is super awesome and fun and grab a hold of her. Ask her the hard questions. Tell her the hard things. Have her pray with you (or for you if you’re unsure of this Jesus thing). I guarantee you that your mom will probably understand and even welcome this. She would rather have you asking a Godly woman all of the things than the girl that sits next to you in Calculus (and definitely more than asking your high school boyfriend).
5. SAY NO TO PEER PRESSURE.
Like I said, high school will end and it won’t matter whether you drank that wine cooler at that party. Or went too far with your boyfriend at prom. Except to you. Because those will be things you carry for the rest of your life. I know it’s hard and not fun and totally against culture, but find the other girls that are saying no too. You are NOT alone. Don’t let the world make you feel like you are.
6. BE KIND. TO EVERYONE.
There are mean people in high school. And if you’re not careful, you will become one of them. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but you are called to be kind.
7. YOU DON’T NEED A BOYFRIEND.
I know that I’ve already mentioned this, but I know that it’s just so ingrained in high school girls that they should have a boyfriend. Guess what? You don’t. Because just like I already said, chances are he’s not your future husband. I would like to be dramatic and say don’t date at all because it will save you from a world of unnecessary hurt, but I’m also realistic that high school dating is gonna happen.
8. LIVE FOR JESUS BOLDLY. RIGHT NOW.
I remember college students coming to visit my youth group and they were completely sold out for Christ. I would think to myself that it must be easier to love Jesus in college. Newsflash. Living for Jesus is NEVER easy. He doesn’t call us to easy. Love him now. Live for him now. Ask Him for courage and boldness. Coming from someone that claimed to be a Christian in high school and lived a completely different way, I’ve had to deal with regret on confusing non-believers about what it means to live for Jesus. High school is a mission field that He has given you for this time in your life so don’t waste it.
So I’m pretty sure I could go on forever, but I will leave you with that for now. Girls, have fun! This is a time of your life that is care-free and rent-free! Hang out with your parents occasionally.. You’ll come to learn they’re actually fun people! Enjoy life! And know that you’ve got people in your life that love you and are praying fiercely for you!!
(And adult women, pray for high school girls!!!! You remember what it’s like. And maybe even pray about whether you need to be one of those women mentoring them because you just never know.)