The older I get the more I realize that life doesn’t change much after high school. I mean, we get older, we get married, and buy houses, and we realize that there is so much more than getting crowned homecoming queen. Yet sometimes… it still feels like I am walking down that fluorescent lit hallway, late as always, wondering if all of the conversations I am passing are about me. In a bad way.
I used to think that once I walked off that stage throwing my cap in the air that all of my problems would disappear with all of the trash I cleaned out of my locker. I would no longer be faced with not “fitting in”, or false rumors, or jealous hatred that came from my successes. Life would finally be…. happy. Well, if you are like my husband and are already filling in the next chapter of this story because it’s so predictable, then yes, you’re right. That is NOT how things turned out. The rose colored haze that I had painted on the world after high school was merely an idyllic wish based out of my own insecurities. Looking back I think that I honestly could. not. imagine. a life that continued like those four years. I simply couldn’t handle it.
Or so I thought.
It’s now been over a decade since I walked out those maroon doors and stepped into my future. And through kids, life, business, marriage, church, I can honestly tell you that things have not changed. But what I can say is that I have learned to be happy despite it all. I’ve learned that no matter what we do or why we do it, someone is always going to dislike me. There will always be people who love you to your face and bash you to someone else. Mean people thrive on stirring up rumors, and making you feel less than you are. If you succeed, jealousy haters will come out of the woodwork to bash you and drag you down. Or even more exciting, copy what you’ve done pass it off as their own. As much as we fight it, it just is. It’s life. It’s human nature. And we have to stop worrying about why it’s happening and how to stop it and instead, decide how to go forward.
As I sit here typing this all I can think about was Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery out of the jealousy of his own brothers who saw the blessings and favor on his life. But with everything that the enemy threw at him, and all of the efforts his brothers did to try to tear him down, he came out victorious. Imagine his situation. He was stripped and mocked and sold by those closest to him. All out of jealousy. What they meant for destruction God used for instruction. God used those years in slavery to mold Joseph. To build character and develop within him the leader that He needed to save an entire people.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Although I am a habitual people pleaser and cannot handle the thought of someone being upset with me, I’ve had to learn to really give it up. As much as I wish I could rub genies lamp and make everything love me, I can’t. And believe me I’ve given myself a few sore arms trying to prove that theory. But it’s true, In the past I would drive myself ( and Isaac) absolutely crazy trying make sure everyone was happy. And It. Was. Exhausting.
It finally came to a halt when this sank in. There will ALWAYS be haters. The more this epiphany dug roots into my heart, the more I was able to let go of this ideal that I could make everyone happy. And the more I let go, the more free I felt. Not worrying about the people who didn’t care about me, actually gave me more time to love on those that really mattered. The ones who were always by my side.
So stop worrying and start living. Stop obsessing about the past and start pushing the limits of your future. Stop listening to the haters and start listening to Him…
Whoa… simmer down Karen… got a lil’ deep on ya
But seriously, as much as I hate to admit it to my 17 year old self, I still walk through this every day. I get hurt when people don’t return my calls or refuse to talk things out, and I have to choose. Will I allow them to hold me back? Will I let offense take root and open the door to bitterness? Or will I walk in grace and choose to forgive?
One of my favorite lines by Taylor Swift says…. “People throw rocks at things that shine.” So in a nutshell, I decided that instead of getting upset, I am going to pick up all of those rocks and use them to build something epic.