It was a normal work day. I was on my lunch break when I opened my Facebook app to see a group invite. Normally, I ignore them, but this was different. It was a group for planning my 10 year class reunion. I almost squealed with excitement. I got excited see all the familiar names and faces of people I spent 4 or more years of my life with, people who I walked the stage with celebrating the end of another season.
As classmates proclaimed their excitement for the reunion, I did what any responsible 27-year-old would do at a time like this…. I shamelessly Facebook stalked as far as their privacy settings would allow. Pictures of college graduations, engagement and baby announcements, job promotions and world travels filled my screen; their lives played like highlight reels and I became increasingly jealous as I looked on every page. This continued for the whole weekend, taking up all of my free time. My heart and mind became convinced that I spent these years poorly and that there was nothing that I could bring to show my life has had some value when reunion day arrived. I have no college degree, nor a corporate America job that could magically make people love and admire me when they ask what happened after graduation. I’m not married or even have a boyfriend and I’m childless.
During one of my lunch breaks this past weekend, I expressed my feelings of failure to a close friend from ALC. My eyes filled with tears and my heart cried bitterly to God for my wasted years (bloopers) and even briefly believed that he was upset with me as well. I replayed the year my parents divorced and how I spent so much time being emotionally effected by it. I replayed the night I prayed for deliverance from an addiction, experiencing the freedom that came afterwards by just simply walking away from it daily, only to crawl back and lock myself up to it months later. I replayed the rejection of young men my heart longed for and how I had looked at myself feeling like I wasn’t enough to experience love. I replayed the two semesters of college that I attended and flunked because of my inability of caring or even believing that I was smart enough to pass any of my classes. I stepped away from success and became comfortable working thankless jobs that were unable to see my worth and I laid in bed with the dreams of being something better only to wake up with not reaching for them the next day.
My phones ringtone pulled me out of my cloud of shame, my friend had responded back:
“Even though it’s not where you want to be or the “ideal” life for your age, doesn’t mean you’re failing. You are just waiting on God, that’s all that matters.”
I read her response over and over again letting it marinate for hours. I sought the Lord on my day off, and though my heart wanted those words to ring true throughout my entire being, it wasn’t doing it as quickly as I would like. But slowly, I had to raise my hand and heart in surrender to the truth that was being whispered to me in my idle moments.
My parents may have divorced but God brought me to a place where I no longer feared a beautiful marriage for myself in the future. I may have been disgusted with my appearance but He showed me how beautiful each curl of my hair was and there was nothing wrong with my glorious thunder thighs. I may have struggled with pornography but He displayed purity and placed it in my heart to long for that. I may have not graduated from college but my work places became my classrooms of learning and growth, even when I hated them sometimes. I shied away from pain, rejection and insecurity but He continuously pushed me to not hold my heart so close but rather keep it out no matter how many times it was beaten and bruised.
I traveled to China and smuggled Bibles and ate with other parts of the Church. I learned to fly a plane, went on hikes with some amazing people, gained skills and a passion for serving others, got two tattoos and a piercing despite my distaste for needles, sat under amazing leaders, gained a natural gift of writing and speaking. I boldly speak about my struggles, opening the door for women to be transparent about theirs and finally, but certainly not the least important, I got back with Jesus. My success may not look like much to everyone else but I spent these years preparing myself for the things that could possibly wreck the glorious kingdom plans God has for me. Falling victim to comparison may have brought me to a low point but My God reminded me that all these years were not wasted. I’m healing, I’m becoming whole, I’m being prepared for the best that has yet to come.
I am the double-edged sword sporting a flowing dress because I am a weapon that is embracing her beauty, I only spent these years being sharpened and shined. I am not the plastic weapon wearing rag dresses that I always believed. My blade-smith took special care in making me the person that I am today. What tried to keep me dull,ordinary and rusty like others around me has long been defeated, I need only to remind myself daily of what has been won.
I am for certain that when I walk into the room next year and surround myself with my past peers, their accomplishments will not push me into a shadow of regret, but rather on the bleachers cheering them on. Because during this week, I have learned the hard way that comparison is a weapon to destroy the truth that was already engraved in me, but so am I to the lies that tried to destroy me.