Starting your senior year of high school has it’s own unique stresses and anxieties — without the added strain of being the new kid in the classroom. Someone very dear and quite precious to me is getting ready to head down that path this coming week. Now THAT, is something I can speak to! I walked down that same path as I began my senior year of high school. Considering that it is forty-plus years later, with the craziness of the world we are now living in, the stresses are intensified and the anxiety is absolutely magnified. This would be especially so if you are someone like me and prefer to blend into the background and not stand out or be noticed.
I remember that first day of my senior year like it was yesterday! We had just moved our family of six, plus one shaggy mutt named Popeye, into that little pink farm house waaayyyy out in the country the day before. My mom dropped me off at the front door, asking if she should go in with me. Having my mommy walk me in would have made it even harder! So I pushed open that heavy door, having no idea which way to go. Thankfully, the guidance office was pretty easy to find.
When I made it to my homeroom class that morning, I parked myself in the front row, right in front of the teacher’s desk. I think I sat down there because it felt safe. It wasn’t out in the mix of the other students that were spread throughout the classroom. My homeroom teacher was great. He was funny and tried to make me feel at home. He could probably tell that I was way out of my element. Most of the friends I came away with that year were from my homeroom class. I was never around anyone else long enough to make many other friends. That homeroom and those students made the transition for this stressed out, anxiety-riddled girl much easier.
I am, generally a quiet person. I “take in” before I “join in.” Confidence is not something you would have credited me with. I didn’t have anything to bring with me that would have naturally made friends. No band, although I had been in band in junior high. No sports. I played one part of one year of basketball, hating every minute of it! I was tall, so I was thrown out there, well… at least until they figured out that I was completely uncoordinated and was on the floor more than above it. No, not athletic. Reading and writing were my things, my favorite things, and neither of those things are really great at bringing in new friends.
The thing I did take with me, that gave me strength, was my faith in Jesus Christ and the fact that the Holy Spirit lived within me. That got me through then, and has gotten me through so much in life. Stand back, look and listen to that still, small voice. My hope for those that find themselves out there in those new places, is that they will relax and enjoy the experience. Don’t let newness and uncertainty keep you from reaching your full potential. Get in there, make friends, lots of friends! Some of them you will keep and some of them will fall along the wayside. Join clubs, play sports, stay active. Put yourself out there. Yes, you will take a few hits, because that is life, but you won’t regret having tried.
The most, very most important thing you can take with you into any new situation, whether it be a child starting a new school, or an adult in a new city starting a new job, is your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Do you have that faith? I pray that you do, or that you will come to know Him and feel that strength can can only come from a relationship with Him. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, born into human flesh, sinless, crucified and giving His life freely, buried, arisen on the third day, will come into your life and change the outcome of your eternity. You just have to believe. You will still face those uncertain situations in life, but with a foundation built on Christ, you will find a strength that you can get nowhere else.
So get out there! Don’t be a wallflower! Give it your best shot! Be seen!
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19