When I started going to youth service the summer before sixth grade, I acted very young. Being with older people more and more really opened my eyes. When I started school that fall I acted a little more mature, and I cared a lot more about how I acted then I did when I was in fifth grade. I still hung out with my friends from the year before, but they were a lot different too. The more I hung out with them the more I realized that they weren’t very nice people. They would make fun of a lot of people and be incredibly rude to people they didn’t even know. When I started realizing this, at first I thought they were just playing around and I didn’t see anything wrong with that. After a while though, they started being really rude to me. The more I was with them the more they would be mean to me. Over time it would bother me more and more, though they would just laugh it off, say "just kidding", and then move on. It really started to go to my heart and I told myself that those words were true, that I WAS ugly, that I was stupid, that I was worthless. I believed what they said was completely true and that they were showing me the true me. When I went to Winter Camp in January I told myself it was going to get better, I would make new friends and I would believe what people said anymore. For a while it was better, but my old friends started saying worse things and spreading rumors about me. My new friends heard the rumors and started saying stuff about me too. One Wednesday night, I was praying to God about what to do and I just felt new and for the first time in a while I felt hope and I knew God was going to help me through this. After that my life started getting better, my friends stopped spreading rumors and they were all around nicer. A few of my old friends apologized for acting the way they did and started being a lot nicer. Even though all of this happened I still couldn’t stop taking every bad thing people said to heart. I still called myself ugly and stupid and worthless. At camp this year during the Hope drama I could just hear those people saying those words to me and I completely broke down. Later that night, Reggie Dabbs asked people to walk through the door and I originally wasn’t going to. But my two friends from my youth group who knew my story looked at me and told me they would help me through the door, and I broke down again. After I walked through the door, I felt completely free and I was able to stop calling myself those words. God completely set me free that night and I am so thankful.

 

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