What I’ve Learned: A Graduating Senior Looks Back

For those of you who don’t know me very well (if at all) I am a senior in high school and will be graduating later this month! Lauren asked me to do an article about what lessons I’ve learned throughout high school and how I’ve grown spiritually. It’s been great, and at times tough, to sludge through my mistakes and the tough lessons learned. Thankfully, I believe I’m a better person today than the timid freshman I was four years ago.   These are some of the things I’ve learned from my high school experience:

imageqtgg1vFitting In Is Overrated
I had hung out with the “popular” kids since I was in kindergarten. We all were close friends but within the last two years, all my so called “friends” have spent their time partaking in things they know are wrong. I missed out on things I wish I would have done such as choir and book club and now it no longer matters what the “cool kids” opinion was because I’m no longer really friends with any of them. The point is to be choosy with your friends – mine weren’t that bad initially but they weren’t supportive of anything in my life which made them bad friends for me.

Always Hold Out For a Hero
Be choosy in who you pick for a boyfriend and even who you pick as guy friends to be around. All throughout high school I’ve seen my friends throw themselves at boys who are, quite frankly, losers. It makes me sad to see girls with such great parents and such big dreams settling for guys who treat them as less than ordinary. I know the feeling of sitting at home and watching a movie with yourself or a girlfriend and wishing you had a boyfriend, even if he isn’t all that great. Don’t you ever think that you need a guy to complete who you are, let God complete you and when you find someone who is worthy, only then consider him.

Fleeing From the Devil is Difficult
Hearing about the devil in church as a child, I pictured a mean monster that would be easily spotted. But that’s actually the opposite of the truth. The devil is the teacher who sweetly tells you it’s silly to think six days of creation are real, it’s the cuss word that tries to force its way out of your mouth when you stub your toe, and it’s the lie that wants to oh so smoothly roll off your tongue when you want to say why you don’t have your homework. That being said, I have learned that James was oh so right when he wrote, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Godly Women Stand Out In a Crowd
I don’t mean to pat myself on the back and point out what I’m doing right, because I’m not half the godly woman I want to be but I want to make a point. A godly woman is strong in her convictions and she stands her ground, always. A godly woman doesn’t stand up for God when she’s with other people that do, she doesn’t laugh at the dirty jokes her boss tells-just because he’s her boss. She stands up for God, regardless of who is around.  I love the words of Jesus when He says, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”(Matthew 15:8). There are millions of girls professing to be godly and tweeting Bible verses and putting Facebook statuses where they discuss their prayer life. But remember, people know the difference between the girls who show up for the parties on Friday night and the girls striving to be godly women. I say that to say this: do not get discouraged. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “everyone gives godliness a bad rap because they show up for parties and things so why should I even try?” Remember that: “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:19).  When you’re discouraged, don’t forget that God knows who is seeking Him with all their heart. Be that girl.

imagevdwx7zIt’s time to personalize our faith. By far the saddest and worst thing that has happened to me in high school has been one of my very best friends walking away from the church and saying God is just a myth for the unintelligent. It’s time to make our faith real to prevent this from happening. We must always make time for personal study, no matter how many sports and organizations we’re involved with. Develop a deeper and more personal relationship with God and you will find it’s easier to handle high school.  You’ll be better equipped to say no to temptation and when something comes along that challenges your faith, you, unlike my friend will be able to “give an answer for the hope that is within you” (I Peter 3:15).

There are so many things I wish I could have done differently. At times, I wish I could go back and knock some sense into my prideful freshman self but I think we all feel that way at times. I’ll probably go back and read this in five or six years and think how much I had to learn. But that’s the point isn’t it? To always grow in the Lord we must always be making corrections and changes to constantly be better for Him.  “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). Some of your friends won’t grow up, they’ll continue to treat life like it’s one big frat party but God calls us to something higher. God is always with us to help us through anything, just reach out and you will find Him. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Holly Beth Pannell
About Holly Beth Pannell 11 Articles
Holly Pannell is a Management Information Systems major at the University of Oklahoma. She attends church at the Penn South Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, OK. She works at the University of Oklahoma in the admissions office and likes being in the middle of the action at her college. She is the oldest of three—all girl—and live in Norman, OK. She enjoys dinner with friends, Sooner football, John Green books, following politics, late night bowls of cereal, and The Office reruns.

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