There comes a time in everyone’s life (usually between the ages of 10 and 14) that one experiences something known as "the awkward phase." For most, it can be pretty brutal -- a time when relationships are tested and hormones wreak havoc until it's hard to recognize oneself. A lot of people spend this time trying to rediscover themselves, even though who they are is normally a lot better than what they're trying to be. They try new hairstyles, wear lots of different kinds of clothes, and basically try as hard as they can to ignore the fact that they aren't nearly as old or wise as they wish to be. Thankfully, I'm nearly done with this phase, but if you're just starting it, or you're somewhere right in the middle, don't worry. Take it from me; there's a light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.
One thing that a lot of us middle schoolers (especially those of us who are girls) worry way too much about is our appearances. We fuss over ourselves from head to toe as if those around us expect us to look like Barbie dolls from the moment we wake up until we go to bed. Even the thought of looking in a mirror is enough to make us feel queasy, and don't even get me started about getting ready to go places. I can't count the number of times I've rummaged through my closet, only to find that all my clothes either don't fit or make me feel as if I look like a two-year-old. I'll get suggestions from my mom or sister, and as much as I trust their fashion expertise, more times than not I'll find myself thinking, "Are you serious? I'm actually about to go out in public and you want me to wear that?" I don’t know if you have something better, but my favorite cure for this problem is to look out a window at all the beautiful trees surrounding my house. It reminds me that the same God who created me created those trees, as well as all the wonderful things in the world. He wouldn’t make anything ugly, and since he made me, I’m obviously not half as bad off as I feel sometimes.
Another thing that really bugs me is the fact that I don't know everything. Have you ever said or done something only to be corrected by someone older than you because you made a mistake? Well, I don’t know about you, but it drives me crazy. I can be a bit stubborn sometimes, so being reminded that I have more shortcomings than I’d like to have can really get on my nerves. I’m not perfect, and I know there’s nothing I can do about that, but can’t I let my friends think I am? Not when I make an obvious mistake and have someone point it out to me. “If only I could go back and change what happened in that situation,” I’ve told myself countless times. But unless one of those many people that are a lot smarter than I’ll ever be invents a time machine, I can pretty much rule that out as impossible. One thing I can do, though, is pray for strength and patience as I deal with the inevitable: that there will always be someone out there who is more knowledgeable than I am, whether it be about writing, music, electronics; there will be a lot of people that know more about this. Unfortunately, I’m one of the most technologically illiterate people I know. There is one good thing about this, though. I’ll always have someone to help me if I get stuck on something difficult, as long as I have a willing spirit to learn.
One last thing I think a lot of middle school girls have a lot of trouble with is the confusion of dating. A good number of us either have a “boyfriend” or wish we did. I personally want to wait until I’m older before I start looking for the person I’m going to marry someday. It’s a lot harder to save yourself for the man God made for you if you go through a bunch of unnecessary "lovey-dovey" relationships that will most likely lead to heartbreak. I also don’t think that people my age are mature enough to make decisions about things such as this. A relationship between a man and a woman is the most important earthly relationship there is, and I don’t want to make any decisions I’ll regret. One thing my mom told me to do when I have any doubts about this is to pray for my future spouse and ask God to help him make wise decisions in his life. This helps me to remember that God has a plan for me if I will choose to follow it.
Whether you’re at an awkward time in your life or not, remember to always make God the center of your life. Even though with everyday distractions we may sometimes lose our focus, we must always strive to get back on track. When you’re in middle school, life can be rough, but with God on your side you can beat out the madness.