I vividly remember the first day of my freshman year of high school. I grew up in a town of around 1200 people, and my class, from kindergarten to 12th grade, hovered right around 27 or 28 students. So, it was a small school. But, this felt like a big deal.
We were moving from the junior high building to the high school building, and all of the high school students had lockers on the same two halls, classes right next to each other, and lunch at the same time. So, I knew that I would encounter older kids. Cooler kids. And, I was a nervous wreck about it.
My mother took me shopping. We bought a killer first day of school outfit: a long red plaid tunic, black stirrup pants, and black flats with enormous bows. Add to that my big, big hair, virtually no makeup, and braces, and, well, let’s just say that I had it going on. I was feeling confident. I was ready.
My parents forced my older brother to drive me to school, despite the fact that he was, is, and always has been way cooler than me. He drove me there in silence, not much of a morning person, not much of a high school person, not much of a drive your sister around person. Like I said, totally cool.
When we arrived, I was determined to be cool, confident, and aloof. I entered the front doors and looked way, way, way down the hallway to my destination: the freshmen lockers. But, I had to walk through what seemed like enormous crowds of junior and senior boys to get down there. I stuck my nose in the air, trying my best to ignore them in an effort to seem way too cool to pay them any attention. Right as I got to a group of senior boys who were already quietly laughing and talking about my obvious attitude, I hit a slight downward slope on that slick tile floor. My awesome bow-laden flats slipped just a little. Not enough to make me fall down, but definitely enough to make me put my arms out and wave them in a circular motion to try and stay on my feet. I felt like a cartoon character whose feet are going every which way right before she hits the ground. I managed to stay upright, but the arm waving and big eyes and near disaster totally ruined my fake coolness.
To top off that humiliation, when I got down to the freshman lockers, I discovered that another girl in my class was wearing the same long red plaid tunic that I had chosen as my signature first-day-of-high-school look. Only, she was wearing it with an adorable black mini-skirt. And she didn’t have braces or big hair or fake coolness. She had actual coolness. I was crushed. I felt like the world’s biggest moron. Why did I have to make such a bad entrance in the hallway, with my Scooby-doo impression? Why did that girl in my class have to wear my outfit better than I did? I wanted a high school do-over before I even got started.
And, as much I as I can laugh at all that now, the feelings I had on that morning are still so fresh in my mind and heart. Because I feel them all the time. Now. As a grown woman, with a wonderful husband, fun kids, an adorable house, nice clothes, and great friends. I still often feel like the world’s biggest moron. Do you ever feel that way? Like you just got totally shown up by the cool kids?
This is easy to say, difficult to do: We should get our sense of worth from God. Not from our husbands, from our friends, or from the cool kids. He loves us, He created us, and He finds us beautiful. God thinks you’re cool! God would NOT laugh at my slip up in the hallway. Ok, maybe He would get a little chuckle out of that. But, then He would assure me that I don’t need the approval of those senior boys or of anyone else in this world. Because the One who imagined the universe also imagined me and you. And He looks at us and says, “Very good.” He doesn’t despise our crooked noses or our big feet or our extra pounds. He simply loves us. And, He isn’t criticizing the way we do everything. He isn’t looking over our shoulder waiting for us to mess up. He’s cheering for us. He’s helping us. And, most of all, He’s loving us.
God approves! Of you and me! He thinks we’re great even when we feel ignored, criticized, torn down, and shown up by people around us. I bet He even liked my stirrup pants. They WERE pretty cute.
So, I’m trying not to let mere humans distract me from the truth that God thinks I’m worth a whole lot. And I bet in Heaven I will totally be a cool kid.