Not sure what these phrases conjure up for you… maybe nothing unless you’re playing Apples to Apples, but me? I’m walloped with a bundle of emotions both good and bad.
The Eighties…were well… the eighties.
The “Brat pack” was all the rage and we were eating with the Breakfast Club trying to catch a spark off St. Elmo’s fire. The tide was high and the only thing higher was the curly permed hair on our heads courtesy of Vidal Sassoon.
If you enjoy the ease and use of mousse, gel, hot rollers and other implements of style construction, thank an eighties girl–we were the hair product guinea pigs. You’re welcome.
For some, this pair of words releases a feeling of warmth and nostalgia. Remembrances of Friday night football, Student government, Beta Club, pep rallies, going steady. Ahhh.
For others…like me, it’s not the brightest star on your constellation map. Don’t get me wrong, I had some good moments but for the most part, I was the poster child for awkward. Gag me with a spoon.
Freshman year was the beginning of a new season in my life which, certainly had to be better than anything I’d known before. ANYTHING. Only a few months earlier, a Greyhound had delivered me unto the rolling hills and red clay of North Georgia and what I hoped would be my promised land. I wasted no time in shaking off the dust of my New Jersey hell.
Please pass that milk and honey. Thankyouverymuch.
A fresh start in a new place I’d never been before with people I’d never met. No preconceived notions or history– I could be whoever I wanted to be. I’d put on my cutest Molly Ringwald smile, be super-charming and smart and nice and make friends right away. And they. would. LOVE me. I was ready for this. At least I thought so.
Shell shocked. That’s the only way to describe my state of mind. I quickly learned the only thing worse than being the new kid was being a “yankee”. And apparently I talked funnier than they did. Then there was the problem of wardrobe. Most everything I’d owned had to be left behind in our escape and my mother couldn’t afford much on our Family Dollar and yard sale budget.
But I was determined to find a way into the hearts of all these people who were going to be my new best friends but simply didn’t know it yet. Street smart and not easily bullied,
I… had a plan.
After studying this new culture, I saved all my babysitting money for the two things I KNEW were going to put me on their radar: a pair of Jordache jeans, and the ever-coveted,
I begged my mother for days before she finally gave in and took me to the Clothes Horse boutique where I selected my designer jeans and a Member’s Only jacket in the most glorious shade of 80’s mauve you’ve ever seen. I was, no doubt, like, radical.
I think I really expected the cosmos was going to shift in my favor that day. Certainly, I was about to be invited into that place of ultimate grace: the Members Only Club. I’m pretty sure nobody noticed. And I learned…there was no Member’s Only club. You were either “in” or not. I was not. I don’t know who made the rules but it wasn’t about to change for me no matter what I wore. Sad days.
I’d like to tell you that this place and my behavior was just a blip on the screen for me… a season only lasting a short while. I’m disgusted to admit , at 44, I’ve only recently crawled out of this pitiful place of image and performance-based acceptance and people pleasing.
The game changer came
when I simply stopped playing the game.
I wish it had been my choice..that I’d simply said ‘to hell with it’, took my ball and went home. No, God let me spin out in this place until I finally recognized the truth of who I really am, what I really need and the only One who can meet that need, Jesus.
In all fairness, I really did have a need. We all do. We were made for relationship. I really did need love and approval and to know my identity and worth as a person. Sadly, this should have come from a stability found in a loving family and rooted in the love of God. But that was a foreign concept all the way around.
It would take many years for God to convince me to totally (not partially) release my grip on what I thought was love and “success”, so he could place in my hand the everlasting treasures of His love, acceptance and the freedom to be who He made me to be….not like ANYone else, but the made-in-His-image ME.
As Beth Moore points out in her study Breaking Free, the well was REALLY deep but my Savior went out of His way to meet me there.
I learned He is the one I’d been searching for.
He found me, I found Him, I found me
and I am a healed.
Because of this, I have a heart to minister to and with the made-in-His-image YOU. The great gift God has given me through His filling of what was lacking is the ability to see and embrace others who may be struggling in those same areas. If that’s you, I have a message for you:
You don’t have anything to prove and I don’t care what you wear. It’s not at all about what you can do for me or what I can do for you…it’s about what God wants to do for and through US….together.
So maybe you feel you’re on the outside looking in everywhere you go. You’re beginning to sell your soul to the devil, scrambling over walls, knocking on doors, peeking through windows just begging to be let inside where you think it’s all happening without you.
Stop. Just stop.
Because that’s IT. We exist to glorify God and champion one another…. to lift one another up as we go. It’s where we make a difference in life… as members of the Body….the true “Member’s Only” club. So…c’mon in! You’re invited! I saved you a seat, no jacket required.