I was one of those girls in high school that enjoyed pleasing the people around me. New friends, wrong friends, right friends. Any friends really. I just wanted to be accepted by anyone and everyone – no matter who and what the cost. It was only after a school camp that I realized how much time I had wasted trying to people please, and the endless striving to get everyone in my court became the one thing that set me back to a place exactly where God wanted me.
In Grade 10, I was on the outskirts of a friendship that I had been in and out of with a group of girls for a long time. After moving in and out of new groups of friends, I had pretty much decided that drifting around with one or two close friends was good enough for me. In that same year, on the Grade 10 school camp, I hit rock bottom. A rumor was spread that I had exposed the same group of girls for smoking on the bus on the way to camp, which resulted in one of the largest blow ups that I have ever experienced. Some shouting, tears, and a broken hair straightener followed, (yes, my GHD #restinpeace) and the rest of the year included exclusion, nasty text messages, deep fear and insecurities that took me many years to finally shake off. I was alone like I had never been before – even with friends who surrounded me I felt wary to trust anyone.
I felt like there wasn’t a point anymore, which lead me down a long road of suicidal thoughts and self-harm. It was lonely, but I thought that it was normal for any teenager to hit that point – it seemed like everyone was doing it nowadays.
It was during that year that my sister matriculated, and my family decided that it would be best to move to Cape Town. I resented the idea, and I remember thinking that my family was purposefully trying to torture me because a new place meant new people to trust. It gave me so much anxiety, until one day I woke up with Godly peace about the whole thing and just decided to be a good sport and come along.
It was in the midst of my fear, confusion, self-loathing and anxiety that God intervened in a way that only He could. My first week of living in Cape Town, I began my new school and got invited to church by these two girls in my grade. That Friday at youth, God thankfully found me. Well – He had always been there but I realised that He was going change things.
Since then, I have still had a lot of soul searching and God-chatting to do for me to get to a place where I can exhale and feel like the world actually isn’t going to end. That I am still loved. That everything feels better after counting to 10. That every breath I take, He gave it to me. There are reasons why we have moments where we feel like the world is going to end – because it isn’t going to! (Woohoo!) But in each world-ending moment, God increases your capacity and gives you a moment to get stronger shoulders through it.
I still have similar battles that I fight to this day, but God has better equipped me to deal with it all without going back to that dark and lonely place that I was in when I was in Durban. Some days, I feel angry about the blow up, but most days I am thankful. If it wasn’t for those girls, I don’t think I would be as invested in young people as I am today. It ignited a passion in my heart that is unshakeable, and I can only thank God for that!
When it came to moving forward, God actually used the thing that held me back to project me to exactly where He needed me to be.