I don’t remember the dark years. I was afraid of everything and everyone.
I have three young kids. Recently we got talking about their teachers and that led to me talking about my teachers growing up. As I told them about each teacher through my elementary years, I could recall names, personalities, and specific memories from those years. It was great fun. Until I got to my middle school years. Things were different. No names came to mind. No positive images or memories. Just a lot of black. Middle school, high school and a few years beyond that were my dark ages. It’s a place I don’t want to ever go back to; a place of loneliness, depression, anxiety and that feeling of total worthlessness. It was a place characterized by fear. I was afraid of everything and everyone.
My jump from elementary school to middle school was like falling off a cliff. My height (or lack of height – 4 foot 10 going into 10th grade) was cute in elementary school. It was freaky in middle school. Freaky enough to take shots at. The shots I took pushed me into a sad and lonely place, where I would stay for about 10 years. Thankfully that’s not the end of my story.
My identity and worth are not determined by the world around me. I know that now, and my mission is to help others see that. My identity and worth come from a place that rises far above the world around me. It comes from the One who created me and loves me unconditionally and without limits. My identity and worth come from God. I believe in God. I know God. And I know that He sees the worth in me and knows my identity. I know that He loves me.
I am aware that many in this world don’t believe that this could be true. It’s hard to believe in someone you can’t see. It’s hard to believe in a place you can’t see. But I think it’s even harder to believe in what we can see; to believe that this is all there is. There’s more. There’s hope. I’ve found that hope.