What If You're Just Average
Average. For most of our lives, things are average. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner like everyone else. We have our favorite shows and activities. We go to school, church, and pick a sport or instrument to play when we are young. I was no different. Having average American problems was a part of my life too. Teen Mom. Divorced (multiple times) parents, moved schools a lot, learning disabilities, and abuse from family members.... Yes, sadly at this point, sexual abuse is an average thing to occur in the US. In fact, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before at 18 according to Child Safe Education.
Average. I just thought my life was average. I thought being forced to do things I didn't want to do was normal. That being angry, depressed, and filled with self-hate was something everyone struggled with. Not eating and exercising too much because I wanted to be as thin as possible, but so did everyone else right? Feeling unworthy of grace and this character that I grew up being taught died for me didn't really die for "me," but certainly did for everyone else. Being told I wasn't smart by my teachers. Forgotten by my birth father. Forced to have sex with strange men at the command of a teenager who threatened the safety of my family and me. Cutting myself just to feel something after numbing life way. Binge drinking to escape the reality of nightmares and crippling anxiety. Average, at least that was the average atmosphere of my internal state and private life.
Average. I was always smiling and serving my community. Helping set up for kids Church lead to leading Sunday school classes, children's church, singing in the choir, helping lead VBS, drama team, worship, missions trips, conventions, and camps. Worked hard at school, played for the volleyball team, was involved in clubs, and by college started a club. Yep, even went to college like everyone else. Worked on campus, was a resident assistant, and excelled in my classes. On the outside, everything looked fine. But everyone hides their skeletons right?
Average is not the definition of ones quality of life. It is not a status to be accepted or defined by. It took years of therapy and finding a healthy church before I came to realize that I didn't have to receive what the enemy was dishing out to me. Over time I was able to receive love from others who tenderly pursued me. That lead to opening my heart to Jesus in a way I didn't think even existed. A dear friend, who has since passed, was the one who lead me to the heart of Christ. This would be the first time I truly got it. Even after a lifetime of attending Church multiple times a week.
Having flashbacks of the things that occurred to me as a child was an "average" part of my life. This night was no exception, other than I learned not to deal with things on my own. I reached out to this friend to help me process this portion of my trauma and she changed my life forever. She challenged me to look for Jesus in my memory. Sounded nuts, but I gave it a shot. What I saw changed my life forever because it flipped my "average" perspective completely upside down and inside out.
It was the memory of the first time someone put a price tag on me for a few minutes of their pleasure. I didn't expect to see Jesus at all, to be honest. I believed that God can't look upon sin, and therefore he wasn't there. Not because of me but because of the evil that was happening to me. Low and behold though, I was wrong. Jesus was there, and not one moment did He ever leave my side or look away from me. As I was raped, He was weeping. That's when I realized it was for these moments He came to Earth. To be with us in the midst of chaos. Boy did His presence change everything.
No longer did I see me or my faith or struggle as average. After opening up to the possibility of His presence even in my darkest moments, those memories are no longer dark. The anxiety and depression attached to them vanished. I began to see myself through His eyes. Full of unconditional love, worth beyond compare, and undivided attention. For the first time ever, I felt like His. Since then I have been absorbing Jesus into my identity. Not a single moment has been average since. That's the incredible thing in following and believing our God. What has happened to you or you have done has absolutely no effect on His love for you. You may face "average" struggles for our culture today, but He has called you far beyond an average life.