Although I would love to say my faith grew from here it only got worse as I got older when all the real pressures kicked in: alcohol, gossiping, sex, boyfriends, beauty. This is the age cool is no longer a straightforward definition of not being a teacher’s pet, it’s a whole other dimension which is extremely hard to follow. At this point I was weighed down with all these pressures: I wasn’t pretty, I didn’t have a boyfriend and I wasn’t popular so therefore in my eyes that amounted to not being good enough. The idea of church was now a distant memory, my Sundays were filled with pretending to do homework instead of church in order to have a lie-in or a TV veg. I wasn’t anti God or Christianity though, I could see my parent’s passion for Jesus and I knew it couldn’t be all made up, but I chose to ignore it in order to fit in.
So why do I believe? Basically I got into the wrong crowd when I went to Sixth Form, they pulled me into their clique, but I ended up becoming one of them, obsessed with guys, parties, alcohol and I thought it was fun at first, I thought I had finally reached “cool” and this satisfied me for a while until I realised I wasn’t happy. These girls didn’t know me at all, they didn’t care for me but I stuck with them to fit in, I was trapped. My only escape from this was my Wednesday afternoons at Christian Union, where I was welcomed and listened to and not pressured to be someone I wasn’t. I could dare to be myself and fully explore this faith. Eventually this love and acceptance gave me the strength I needed to leave my group of friends and the pressures behind. For a while I was alone and that was hard, but somewhere inside of me I trusted God and decided to pray to him. I prayed that I would find true friends by the time I left Sixth Form this wasn’t answered straight away but I didn’t mind because I found the most amazing friends by the end of my first year. They were from my Christian Union, they challenged me to be a better person, to be comfortable in my skin and to dare to be a Christian in today’s selfish materialistic society.
From then on I have been a follower of Jesus, I know the Lord will provide, and that feeling of not being enough is slowly fading away. I feel free and I have realised that to say Christianity is restricting is extremely wrong. I’ve never felt more liberated. That doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with these pressures from society, but this time when I struggle I know whom to rely on.