When I was a freshman in College, I really really liked this boy. He was a freshman too, and I’d find any and every excuse to talk to him. Even if it was just awkwardly walking by like, “I like your shirt…” #smooth
He’d talk to me from time to time, and I started to think… what if he likes me too? A friend of his told me once, “yea, he thinks you’re pretty hot.” And to me, that set off some major fireworks.
He thinks I’m hot? Woah… okay. This must mean that I’m in, right? Does this mean he wants to ask me out? So much anticipation welled up in me, but I obviously didn’t understand boys enough to figure out what that meant for me… So the funny and awkward attempts to keep him interested continued.
I started wearing cuter outfits and started doing my hair more. I started to put more makeup on. I started to seem more… available. I wanted his attention so badly I was willing to do anything to get it. And then one night we were at the same party…
I strategically picked out my outfit that night because I was told he’d be there. My shorts were way too short, so just in case my personality was too awkward… enough of my skin was freely showing. My hair was done and my makeup was on point. At least I thought it was. Makeup has never been my thing. But that night, I needed it to be.
So at this party, I filled my red solo cup with coconut rum and sprite. Heavy on the rum. Because boys like fun girls, right? And the fun girls drink rum and rock at beer pong. They laugh at everything the boys say and giggle a lot while sipping on their sweet drink. At least that’s what I’d seen other girls do…
So I tried playing that card. I didn’t really know how, but I wanted him to notice me. I wanted him to see that I was fun and cool and into him, that I could “hang” with the cool kids that went to parties. We even took a picture together. We even played beer pong together. He even hugged me at one point. And so I fell asleep that night feeling successful and hopeful and completely confident that something special would happen.
The next morning… I heard he’d hooked up with another girl at the party.
And I was so crushed. What happenned? What did I do wrong? If I’m being honest, the first thing that came to mind was, “but why didn’t he wanna hook up with ME?” I should’ve been filled with disgust, with a sense of relief because I wouldn’t want a man like that anyways. But it wasn’t, and that’s how confused and naive and twisted my mind was.
I was also still a virgin at this point, and had never really done anything with a boy before… maybe he knew? Maybe he could tell I was completely inexperienced? And I really didn’t understand what that meant for me, other than the girl he hooked up with must have done something better and been more fun. And I remember feeling so inadequate… But even though I probably would’ve been scared out of my mind and completely clueless as to how a “casual hookup” is supposed to go, I still found myself wondering… how come he wanted her and not me?
I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel “sexy” enough. I didn’t feel confident in my own skin all of a sudden. Because he picked her, and not me.
It made me feel awkward and unwanted because this purity I’m carrying around must be holding me back from really enjoying college.
So then it started. I decided that guys must not want the innocent girl, and being the virgin wasn’t attractive. I decided I needed to offer more. I needed to be more “adventurous” and open to try new things. So I decided to become that girl the guys would choose. Because I wasn’t sure what else to do…
But I really wish someone would’ve told me not to.
Because that mentality led me down a road of regret and heartache. That mentality allowed me to give myself away like candy at a parade. That mentality led me to choosing men over God, and their approval over self worth.
But God redeems all and gave me a new identity in His name. He gives a purity that no one can take away from me.
A few weekends ago, I got to spend time with the sweetest 17 and 18 year old girls you’ve ever met at a little mini retreat. A few of them shared their hard stories and got teary eyed because they’ve already walked that path. And I got to tell them about the sweet redemption story God wrote for me, and that the same redemption story is for them too. I got to tell them about the grace and forgiveness thats waiting for them, and all they have to do is grab His hand and say,
“Okay Father, I choose you. Lead me where you want me to go…”
And late that night, I got to challenge them to write themselves a letter to put things into perspective.
“What would you say to the girl who is hurting because she fell short and messed up? What would you say to the girl who has forgotten who she is, and who is on the edge of turning away because heart breaks suck… what would you say to the girl who is drowning in fear of never being good enough or sexy enough or pretty enough or skinny or smart enough… what would you say to the girl who has given herself away, and feels lost and confused and hopeless… what would you tell her? What would you remind her of? Because this girl is you…”
And we got to share our hearts and the words we would say, because we’ve all been there or may eventually be there. And we’ll need a sweet sister to pick us up and tell us we’re forgiven and loved when our hearts and legs are too weak to stand.
There were girls that opened up and discovered that they weren’t the only ones who had fallen short… they could look around the room now and for once feel like they weren’t alone in their mess, like they have someone to pull them out of the mud and help wash them off now. And satan wants us to believe we’re in this ALONE. Because he hates it when we stand together and cheer each other on. He hates when we truly LOVE and encourage each other, because the women who step up together are the women who kick the devil back where he belongs.
And I think the reason I shared this story is because I want girls to know we’re in this together. I want girls, young and old, to know that we’re fighting this fight hand in hand and I’m not letting you go.. Because Jesus is the giver of all good things, and He has given us one another to walk through this life TOGETHER.
Let’s be a community of women we can fall into, and cry on the shoulders of and lay all our burdens down with…
Because when I was a naive and confused 18 year old, I needed that. And I want other naive and confused 18 year olds to have that. Because maybe… just MAYBE, lives would be changed.
So lay down your hurts. Lay down you fears. And lay down your brokenness.
Right at the cross. Right at the feet of Jesus.
Because we’re in this together. Hand in hand. Carrying each others burdens.
Let’s live as if we’ll be caught when we fall.