I’m finally at that bittersweet point of being excited about finishing high school but also being very sentimental. I had a love-hate relationship with high school, but above all, I am very thankful for all that high school has been. My high school has caught many of my tears, has collected an abundance of joy and laughter, and has taught me more than I could have ever anticipated. I think the hardest part about leaving high school is leaving all the friendships I’ve developed that will still be at the school. I wanted to leave a letter with a few words of advice for all my sweet friends that have more time in high school, especially to my 8th graders that I adore beyond words that have all of high school ahead of them.
To my sweet friends,
First and foremost, thank you for letting me do life with you. It has been one of the greatest gifts getting to grow with you guys and see the Lord just at work in each of your lives. You all hold such a tender place in my heart and there is no way I can question God in His goodness when He has brought such awesome people into my life. As a lot of you have seen me grow throughout some of my time in high school, I’m sure you’ve heard me say a lot of these things before, but I just wanted to give my 2 cents of what I’ve learned.
1. Every year of high school brings an abundance of change that you really don’t have control of. Change is inevitable but the one thing you do have control of is how you handle the change.. so embrace it. Embrace change and let Him lead you because above all else, He weighs the heart and has goodness ahead of you that you cannot even imagine.
2. Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is to just love people where they are at. Don’t try to change people, we can’t change them.. just love them. Love them that through the darkness and care for them as much as you can.
3. Love as many people as possible. Try to break out of your zone of friends and love those in the rear view mirrors. Talk to anyone and everyone in your classes, because sometimes those conversations with a random classmate turns into the sweetest friendship you never saw coming.
4. Through and through, you do you. Love who you are and do the things that make YOU happy. Be okay with being different at times – there are always going to be people who disagree with how you live and that is completely fine. In fact, if you’re following the Lord, you are called to be different and to love differently and it took me a while to really understand that.
5. Take care of others, but also really take care of yourself. Don’t pour yourself empty- I really struggled with that balance between taking care of others and my friends and at times it really hurt me (still learning). Talk to yourself like you do to those you love and take care of yourself the way you tell your friends to also love themselves. It will become so much easier to love others when you are also taking care of you.
6. Go out of your comfort zone. As my sweet friend Lillabea says, “comfort is fatal”. It is so easy to get stuck in loving the people that love us back or doing the thing that we always do- we get so tied down into our routines and go through the motions. I want to encourage you to break out of that. Love the unlovable and walk into the unknown. Uncomfortable situations are really where you will experience the most growth.
7. Know that your value does not come from any popularity rank. If you have 50 friends, that’s awesome or if you have 5, that’s so great too – love the heck out of those 5. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.
8. Have grace in high school – we are all trying to make it through and sometimes (pretty much all the time) grace and forgiveness can go a long way.
9. Wherever you are, be all there. Don’t think about where you could be or who you could be with, be where you are. Presence is so important. The people who have made the biggest impact in my life are the ones who are simply just present.
10. Enjoy your time, hold onto hope and always fight the good fight. Don’t allow darkness to cover you and don’t let your circumstances define you. Keep your eyes fixed and your heart willing.
11.Above all else, give Jesus a chance. Find out who Jesus is to you, not who He is to others. He wants to know you and your heart and He so desires to have a relationship with you, give Him a try… you’ll find that you have a forever friend in Him.
You guys are all incredible humans and have greatness ahead of you! I’m so excited to see what the good Lord has ahead of you! And know that I am always cheering fiercely for you and I’m here to pray you through this life!
All my love,