So I came across an old article written on me my Senior year of high school back in 2012 that brought back all kinds of memories. Now that I’ve graduated from college, I felt that it was the perfect time to reflect on how I’ve changed (or not) in the past 4 years. Lots has changed and I want to take an opportunity to bring glory to God through my transformation.
Jasmine Wilhite: High School Senior
My senior year of high school was jam packed with so many accomplishments that I must admit I was proud of back then. Way too proud. Let me take a minute to paint a vivid picture for you guys: I was a Superior Honor Student ranked #13 out of 390 graduates, voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by my peers and awarded a Senior Superlative by faculty and staff, Field Commander in marching band, Class Representative in Student Council, active member in a number of other clubs, and I received an A in the first (and last) AP class I ever took…. and in the rest of my classes. I was about 125 pounds and my idea of “fly” (yea, I think that was the word back in 2012. Forgive me if I’m wrong lol) which was evident from the gazillion selfies I took before selfies even became a big deal. My pictures got me the attention I seldom admitted I sought after. My looks and people’s validation defined my worth. I was not a wild child because I had this desire to make my family and others proud of me. I claimed to be a Christian even though my heart and my mind were so far from God. I didn’t care to live for Him for real… to be honest I didn’t really know what that meant. I just did what I wanted and tagged God’s name to it. So that was me in a nutshell:
kinda really vain and an extreme perfectionist with a need to please. The amount of praise I got and the great reputation I earned coupled with society’s constant exclamations to “get a good education so you can make something of yourself” made me think that my life couldn’t get much better. So I pursued worldly success through school and people’s praise and it helped that I was pretty good at getting both. I had it made, or so I thought most of the time. The driving force of all the hard work and dedication I put into racking up all these titles was my pride. I thought all that stuff made me somebody, I thought it made me who I was and I didn’t want to know what life was like without it. However, something was still missing…
Jasmine Wilhite: College Senior
Fast forward 4 years and you have the “Jasmine” who is writing this blog now. The high school Jasmine had so many hopes and dreams for the future she was about to pursue. Little did she know, college would look nothing like what she imagined. Life as she knew it would soon be over. I want to make it clear that I now know that this is perfectly fine! No, I didn’t find my husband in college. I didn’t even date in college much at all. No, I’m not 125 pounds anymore. Freshman 15 met me at the door and brought about 5 extra friends with them! I didn’t find my way to a seat in the Student Government Association, or any other clubs. I lost my winning streak when it came to having all A’s. I don’t have the desire to take a billion selfies now and post pictures of myself left and right. I went through a season in college where I became physically separated from one friend I depended on at school each semester until there were none left. Many days it felt like it was just me against the world. I lost my first loved
one to death. At a first glance, it may seem like my life kinda went downhill. For a while I believed this as well. But as I look back and reflect on the past four years, I can now see that these losses weren’t losses at all, but gains because the haze of all the “idols” that clouded my view of God was slowly being lifted. It was as the fog began to clear that I was able to see Him. He came out of nowhere, found me and He’s what I didn’t realize I needed. It took me going through these situations and now looking back over my life to realize God’s sovereignty. He was working all along, waiting patiently for me to turn to Him and welcome Him with open arms. He can truly use anything for His purpose if He so chooses. I see now that He was slowly but surely stripping me of everything I put my hope and identity in that wasn’t Him, and I’m learning to find joy in that.
What to take away from this….
- See, when you choose to begin your walk with God for real, He is going to pursue the throne of your life and this may mean losing some stuff. I admit that at times this is uncomfortable. It’s hard to find joy when you lose things you’ve depended on for so long. But we can trust God. He’s not only with His children now, but He also goes ahead before us to guide the steps of His followers. He’s perfect and has never made a mistake and He’s not going to start with you!
- Worldly success is nothing like God’s definition of success. The world glorifies material things and pleasure and encourages people to do whatever you need to do to achieve this goal… in other words, do whatever makes you happy. My avenue was education. Yours may be different. After coming to Christ it became clear to me that the path that I was on was pointless. Why? Because this world is temporary and will not last! “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.-1 John 2:17” Mark 8:36 goes onto say, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, but forfeit their soul?” I see now that living life for worldly reasons will feel good for a while, but you will one day lose it all only to go into eternity, where there are no second chances, where God will only look at whether or not you lived your life for Him instead of yourself. God tells us in Joshua 1:8 that obeying Him is the definition of success. As for me, I continued to pursue education but my intentions were different. It’s not about the money, but using a career in nursing to bring glory to God. That’s my motivation.
3. There’s a reason why you may feel like life is missing something, even when you think you have it all. The truth is that God would love to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us. I’ve heard since the beginning of my walk that people have God-sized voids in their lives that only He can fill. However, humans still attempt to fill them with things that just won’t fully satisfy: money, cars, marriage, dating, careers, degrees, friends, popularity, you name it. I’m a living witness that this statement is so true. On the outside looking in, high school Jasmine didn’t seem to have anything to complain about, but I was NEVER CONTENT! There was always something more I wanted despite having everything I asked for. Now, I’m learning to I now believe it was a blessing from God that allowed me to continue having that void. I’m afraid to think where I would be now if I became content in a life without God in it. The discontentment I felt helped me to keep seeking, even if I sought after things that weren’t beneficial. That seeking is what helped me keep my eyes open and my heart willing for change, the perfect recipe for God to come and spark true conversion.
To be perfectly clear, I have a lot more growing and changing to do. This process will take the rest of my natural born life but I wanted to use the changes thus far to hopefully encourage someone….anyone! I would especially like to encourage the person who might feel like they do not qualify for the Christian life because they may not have some tragic life story that pushed them closer to God. I used to think this for years but God can use us who “thought” we had it all together for His glory as well. Your testimony is important too. There’s a place for everyone in God’s kingdom if you invite Him into your heart.