Here are ten things (and one more thing) to help you start this school year off right.
I just got home last night from spending the weekend in Tucson. We moved our daughter (my stepdaughter) into her apartment at the University of Arizona. It was crazy busy, but it was awesome because we got to be there and we got to meet lots of her friends. It's not only an honor for me to walk beside Sami as she transitions into her sophomore year, but to be around so many young people in this huge time of transition. It's exciting! It’s like I’m a sponge, learning about what college life is like now and what girls are dealing with today. Anyway, here’s what I want to say….
10 Things to Remember
- Do not worry about who people think you are on social media, because the friends and people who really love you, are the only ones who truly need to know the truth and they are the ones who matter.
- I know selfies are a huge part of life now, but make sure you keep in check with yourself and know - you are beautiful just as you are right now, without any filter, or any retake, or any makeup or any likes. You are more than your selfie.
- That reminds me - whatever you do - be careful of getting your validation from how many likes you get on what you post. Those likes or missing likes will never validate who you truly are because that's only meant to come from one place - your creator.
- Do not let a single thing you navigate through in this school year determine your worth. I don’t care how good or bad your grades are, or how great the internship you are getting is - none of that determines your worth and value. You are invaluable to God.
- Relax and take a deep breathe. Yes, you are figuring out who you want to be in life at the same time you are trying to make it through college. It's a lot, but I want you to know God has a good plan for your life and he knows how it’s all going to go down. So don’t rush or stress and just enjoy where you are right now.
- Speaking of stress - don’t forget to DEstress. Whatever you do to rest, do that. Whether it’s taking a nap or a walk or Netflix and chill, chill. You will be so much more functional if you keep it in balance.
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is eating. You eat what fuels your body and keeps you strong. Think fuel. Don’t deprive or starve yourself because it won’t help.
- Workout for your health and sanity. Don’t worry about the skinny girl who is down on the other treadmill you want to look like, we are created uniquely and your body is not her body.
- Watch out for drinking or using any kinds of drugs. I’m certainly not going to tell you not to do anything because I’m not going to stop you. But be aware of your consequences when you partake. It’s not normal to end up in the hospital from drinking, and that’s okay because it happened to me too. What it is, is a good sign you may have a problem with using. So be aware.
- One more time on beauty, because we are living in such a surface obsessed world: Like the song Scars to Your Beautiful says, “You should know your beautiful just the way you are” and “Beauty goes deeper than the surface,” no matter how you feel or what you think about yourself, trust me - you are beautiful. You will need to remember this when you doubt it a thousand times this year. You are beautiful because God created you.
And One More thing….
As you spread your wings this year, remember that part of learning how to fly is falling sometimes. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s more than okay to be yourself. It’s beautiful to show your scars. It’s better to be real than fake. It’s better to learn from your mistakes and grow, than not take risks and stay stagnant.
Go easy on yourself as you grow and learn about life this year. Lean on your friends. Listen to your Healthy Voice. When I say that I mean in it’s truest sense - God. His voice is greater than yours or mine and He can help us whenever we get derailed by the many ways our Unhealthy Voice can get us. Whether it’s your parents, a fight with a friend, a bad grade, or a bad night - that Unhealthy Voice will want to put you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Don’t let it. Get back up and know that you have a Healthy Voice that will keep you strong even when your Unhealthy Voice seems to be shouting.
And if you are one of those girls whose Unhealthy Voice is particularly loud, or damaging - you are not alone. Many girls like you have one too. It thrives on you comparing your news feed or likes. It expects you to be perfect and it loves when you pretend you have it all together. It loves when you are fake. There is no one on that campus that doesn’t struggle with these things. Some of the girls just hide it better. Everyone has their problems, no matter how good that picture looks.
If that Unhealthy Voice is so loud you can’t focus or work, you may need some help. Do not be ashamed of getting it. Maybe you have emotional struggles or you get so overwhelmed that you have a panic attack, or you turn too much to starving or overexercising or bingeing to cope with stress. Whatever it is, there is no judgement here. But the sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you will realize you are braver than you think.
If you aren't there, I want to tell you about what should be your first resort, but is usually the last. And that’s crying out to God.
In Matthew 11:28-30 he says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
And if for a second you think you have to do something to earn God’s love, remember this: Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not form yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.”
These are the verses that helped me when I hit a place where I could no longer do it myself. I was siting in my apartment at school (grad school actually) and couldn’t take it anymore. I cried out to God and he answered me. These verses comforted me and helped me get better. They still help me today.
So, if the world feels like it’s crashing down, it’s not. God has got you. You’ve just got to ask him for help. You could call your Mom, but even she can’t help you in this place. This is where you need God - when you come to the end of yourself. He will love you right where you are at. There is nothing better than being guided by God and in relationship with Him. (And mind you this isn’t coming from someone who knew the Lord in college, only went to church to pray to pass an exam.) If you want to get an idea of what I’m talking about, seek him every day. Look for him in the skies, in the impromptu good conversations with your friends, in the little moments, and you will realize he’s always with you. All you gotta do is notice.
I hope this stuff helps you navigate the next school year. If you ever need anything I’m just an Instagram message or email away. You can also look for me on Instagram sometimes this fall with my friend Eliza who is your age. We will be talking about all these real topics nobody wants to talk about. We’ll be getting REAL so you can be real. If there is anything you want us to talk about, let us know!!
Have a great school year!!