The Search for the Missing Piece

If there was a single word that could summarize my advent, it would be longing. I longed to find my place among peers, I longed to feel comfortable in my role in the family. I longed to feel worthy. My attempts to fill this longing were not that different from many other young women. The world told me that I would find my place, my person, in someone else. In the 90s era of coming of age, Seventeen and Glamour quizzes were sure to help you “get” the guy, look the part and fit in. Yeah, no.

What I found with each passing day was that the shoes and clothes and purses, not even the ones with the 3D ducks, could make me feel the way that the girls in the magazines looked. I was awkward. I was unsure. I didn’t know how my body worked. I spent most of the years between 12-15 trying desperately to be anything but the person that my body told me I was. A week of conversations and creatively folded notes with a junior high football player gained me attention. That is if you call being barked at in the hall by his friends, attention.

During my freshman year of high school I grew 5 inches. I was approaching 6′ tall and not even the fact that I went to an all-girls school could shield me from the fact that my insides did not match my outsides. By all physical characteristics, I would make a great athlete. Nope. That would require my arms and legs and brain to communicate in way that centered around coordination. What about modeling? Yeah, just because someone is tall or skinny or both, you should never suggest that. When the agency encouraged me to chop off my hair I realized this was not helping me be me. Their goal was to make me be them. Standing face to face with a less than stellar academic life, a turbulent self esteem and uneasy friendships, the next step was sadly predictable. As many teenage women find out the hard way, relationships fix nothing. But I needed no assistance, asked for no advice and knew just what I needed.

This pattern was an ongoing journey of pain and heartbreak and self-hate. It fueled arguments and patterns of angst. It shaped words and framed thinking and paved deep grooves in my soul that told me that there had to be an exterior way to fill an internal hole. Like I’ve mentioned before, my adolescence was absent from perceived worldly rebellion. What the world did not know and my perfectionist outside smoothy polished, was my first drug of choice: people. I love to be needed. I love to be loved. I love to be the saving piece to the puzzle of struggling humanity. While years of hard work and learning showed me that there were blessings and curses to every gift, in the advent of my peopling, I was throwing a worse case basement party that included some of the best co-dependents and emotionally unhealthy people this world could offer a struggling teenager.

Here is the quick takeaway for those need a peek at how years of therapy played out:

  • you are enough
  • you are enough
  • another person cannot fill your holes
  • you are enough
  • you are enough
But this is skipping too far into the future. For now, the longing was real. The need to feel love was profound, and my two favorite stops for a fix were boyfriends and the church. Good times. Both of these can help to fulfill a healthy person. But to a young person, on the search for hope and love and joy and peace, I was in desperate need for a Savior.

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