“The Goliath in My Life”

Download a PDF of these reflections here.

 

Children’s Sunday

June 22, 2014

Scripture:  1 Samuel 16-17

 

On Children’s Sunday, our young people reenacted the story of David and Goliath. Two of our older youth, both recent high school graduates, shared their reflections on how this story intersects with their lives.

 

Brittany

Waiting in line to get into the lunchroom as a shy seventh grader, I remember that I forgot my lunchbox in my locker. A few minutes later, after retrieving my lunch, I walk into the crowded lunchroom alone. Looking for an open seat, I spot my best friend, but she is already sitting down at a table that has every seat full. As a few seconds go by, eyes look up, watching me try to find a seat with at least one of my friends. I say a quick prayer and keep looking for an open seat, but I see nothing. Soon follow the giggles and the weird stares. I can’t take it anymore. Turning around quickly, I hurry off to the counseling office, where I know there is an open seat for me.

During a weekend church conference, I quietly walk into a room of bodacious women, noticing that I am easily the youngest in attendance. Attempting not to make eye contact with anyone who might speak to me, I hide in the corner-most seat of the room, counting the tiles on the floor. Later that day, I am approached by older teens who encourage me to get involved in new worship experiences. With strength and courage from God, I let myself go and join the other girls. In the midst of complete strangers, I feel accepted in a way that I never have before.

During the first block of the first day of high school, not recognizing anyone from my town, I sit near the front of the class, staring at the pen marks on the desk in front of me. I attempt to keep up with my teacher as he starts to speak Spanish immediately. Being called on first, the teacher asks me, “¿Qué hiciste el verano pasado?” He speaks quite quickly, and I don’t understand what he is saying. I become embarrassed that I can’t understand, even after having a year of Spanish class. The teacher tries again, “¿Qué hiciste el verano pasado?” and again, “¿Qué hiciste el verano pasado?” but I still don’t respond. I turn red and look around the room, only to see other hands raised. The teacher moves on, asking the next student, who easily answers the question in Spanish.

Being asked to read scripture in church for a special service, I reluctantly agree. Not knowing what passage it is, if there are hard words to pronounce, or even how long it was, I say yes, because I had faith that God would not make it too hard for me to handle. Not being a public speaker, I practiced many times over until I perfected and even memorized most of the passage. With the help of God, I got past my fear of speaking in front of people and overcame my fear of being judged for things that I can’t control—at least for that day.

During my senior year of high school, I notice an international student sitting alone. Remembering how terrible it felt to not have a seat in the lunchroom, and how wonderful it felt to be included during my church conference, I sit down in the seat next to him. With something or someone convincing me, I break out of my shell and talk for the whole lunch. Even with the gender difference and language barrier, we hit it off. I invite him to join the clubs that I am involved in and he explains how happy he is to be encouraged to become involved in something more, in a country that is said to have endless opportunities. Each of us being on the outside of the “popular” group, we connect in a way that none other would. We understand each other and the position that we are in.

Finishing up my senior year of high school, I have as many people sign my yearbook as I can. I find all of my favorite teachers, good friends, tennis teammates, club participants, and peers that I taught. Reading the notes that these wonderful people wrote, I find tears in my eyes. Feeling touched by so many individuals in my life and thinking about the impact that everyone has had on me, I remember the shy seventh grader who was too shy to talk to anyone besides her best friend.

This girl was me. This girl is me. The Goliath in my life has always been the fear of not being accepted for who I am. I would love to say that I was a shy young girl with low self-confidence—but it is not true. At times I still am that girl, but with the help of God I have become more than that. Through my late middle and high school career I have learned to be outgoing, relying on my faith to guide and protect me. I have gained a lot of confidence and courage, but I still have days that I am rather reserved or need a confidence boost. I get through those days simply because I have God on my side.

 

Emily

What does a giant look like? Does it stand tall and menacing, blocking out the sky? When it walks, do its steps make the ground tremble and leave you quaking in your boots? Does its voice boom and rumble like thunder when it speaks?

I have a giant in my life. She’s kind of scary. She’s a bully, always picking on the little guy. She likes to say unkind things to me and make me feel very small indeed. She loves to point out my mistakes and flaws. She tells me I’m not good enough. When I mess up, even if it’s just a little bit, she won’t let me forget it. She remembers each and every time I wasn’t my best, and she deems each instance a failure, taunting me with the memories every chance she gets.

I try to ask her nicely to stop; I try to ignore her. I try to walk away, but I can’t.

So who is this giant? Well, she isn’t very tall. She doesn’t block out the sky. Her steps don’t cause the ground to quake with each stride. In fact, she doesn’t walk at all. Her voice is not a deep rumble; it actually can’t really be heard. But yet, I know she’s there. She’s always here, always with me. Because she is me. She lives in my mind, and she reigns there, cruel and powerful.

I am my own Goliath.

However, I am also David. I am brave and I know that with God’s help I can defeat this foe. From the burbling water of the stream I call my life, I have plucked five stones to use against my Goliath.

They are named: Family, Art, Church, Love, and God. Each of these is a valuable tool in my battle with this giant.

Family is always here for me, even when Goliath tries to speak to them through me.

Art brings me joy. I love to dance and sing and perform and write. It turns the negativity Goliath wields into something beautiful and meaningful.

Church is a place where I feel loved; and no matter what my giant tries to tell me, I know I am always welcome and accepted here.

Love I chose because if I can learn to use it to love myself, then Goliath has no way of making me believe I’m not worth it.

And finally, God. Because when you’ve got a Goliath on your case, who better to trust than the Lord? With Him on my side, I can do anything… even defeat the invisible giant in my mind.

I am my own worst critic and sometimes it holds me back from greater things. But like David, I will trust in the Lord and meet my Goliath boldly. In the end, I know I’m worth it. For as I taught my church school class last Sunday through a Veggie Tales movie, God made me special. And he made you special, and you and you. And He loves us all, very, very much.