When I was in high school, all I wanted was to be popular. I used to watch Saved By The Bell, and I always wanted to be the popular kid like Zach Morris. My older brother was 2 years ahead of me in school. Everybody loved him and he was pretty popular at school. I wanted to be just like him. I always thought that unless everyone in the school knew my name, then I didn’t matter. Thoughts of being popular consumed me so much that I used to count how many people would say hi to me in the halls. This insecurity was affecting my entire life.
I finally got to the point where I was popular. I was in our school homecoming 3 years, I played 3 sports, I was in student government, pretty much anything that I felt would make me popular. My whole high school experience seemed to be surrounded by trying to be the “cool guy” that everyone liked.
My senior year, I wasn’t getting as much playing time from the varsity basketball team. I started to notice that most of my “friends” stopped talking to me because I wasn’t on the school news show or in the city newspaper for sports anymore. I discovered that these friends that I had tried so hard to impress over the years weren’t really my friends. They just used my popularity for what they could gain from it. It hurt a lot. I realized that all the time and effort I put into being the king of the school got the best of me. In the end I had only one or two close friends left, the rest betrayed me.
It was around this time when God got a hold of my life, and I really started to develop my relationship with Him. He showed me the things that really matter in life, and taught me how to put my trust in Him. It was difficult at first because for a long time I found my security and self esteem in other people’s opinions of me.
I finally realized that my self worth didn’t come from my popularity. It came from God, and He had promised that He would be closer to me than any friend I could ever have.
After understanding that revelation, I remember thinking that I had never been so alive. God gave me some the best friends a guy could ever ask for. Guys who would build me up, and really care about the things going on in my life. The friends I’ve made since Jesus transformed my life will no doubt be my best friends for life. Every good thing that’s come into my life is because of the faith and friendship I have with Jesus Christ. Because of Him, I don’t feel the need to be popular. My focus is on Him and pleasing Him with everything I do. I remember wanting everyone to know who I am, but now if Christ is the only one who knows me, then that’s enough.