Eighth grade graduation was over and suddenly the reality of high school in the fall faced her. She’d soon be 14 but only stood 4′ 7″ tall.
“What if they don’t like me?” Chelsea worried.
“Who might not like you, Chelsea?”
“The other kids in high school might not like me. I’m so short! I don’t want to be the shortest kid in the school.”
Nannygranne knew Chelsea’s parents weren’t tall people, but Chelsea was usually head and shoulders shorter than her peers. Her vision of a new school and all new faces was intimidating.
“What have others said to you about your height?” Nannygranne asked.
She thought a moment, then admitted that people weren’t usually mean. “But I know kids can tease and I don’t know the kids at the new school.”
“You know I remember my first year in high school. We moved to a different town and left all my friends. I remember being nervous and sad all at the same time.
“What did you do?” Chelsea wondered.
“Well, I just put one foot in front of the other and did what I had to do. After a few days I had friends and knew my way around. But not everyone liked me.”
“What did they say?” She leaned closer.
“Well, I was a different race from most of the kids in our school. They were all friends and had known each other all their lives. There were only seven of us in the entire school. Nobody was mean, really. They just left us out of most things outside of class. And the worst part is that I wasn’t very good at sports either, and that’s what mattered there. It was a small school.”
“Were you lonely?” she wondered.
“Well, I did have a couple of friends. Also, I had my family who loved me and we did things together. But the most important friends I had were my youth group at church and my good friends at summer camp every year. I do wish I’d known more about my very best friend, though.”
“Who was your very best friend?”
“Now I know it was Jesus.1 I still hang on to my friends at church so I don’t get lonely. They’re very much like more family. But Jesus is the only One that never lets me down, never goes away, and is never too busy to talk. Everybody else is just human.”
“But I still worry, Nannygranne. Do you still worry?” Chelsea needed to know how long this struggle would last.
“Honey, everyone–no matter how popular they seem, or rich, or famous–have lonely thoughts. And sometimes in life you really are alone. The key is to learn to look your thoughts in the eye and ask, ‘Where did you come from?'”2
“What?” Chelsea giggled. “You mean talk to my thoughts?”
Nannygranne laughed as well. “I know it sounds funny, but part of growing up is understanding that we don’t have to believe everything we think. Satan gives us thoughts sometimes. That’s how he bothers us. That’s the only power he has. But the Holy Spirit is inside us when we’re Christians and He hears those thoughts, too, and will help us out.3 With God’s help you learn to sort of take your thoughts out of your head for a minute and take a good look at them. If they aren’t friendly or true, or especially if they are hurtful, you can do something with them.”
“I don’t get it, Nannygranne. You’re going to have to show me.”
“Let’s look at what He says about looking our thoughts in the eye and checking them out. Take my phone here and read Philppians 4:8 in the ICV.”
Chelsea took the phone and read, “Brothers, continue to think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”
“Alright, Chelsea, now read this, too.” She indicated Romans 12:2.
She read, “Do not be shaped by this world. Instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you. And you will be able to know what is good and pleasing to God and what is perfect.”
“Have you ever thought of putting your hurtful thoughts in jail?”
Chelsea laughed again, “Nannygranne! You are just weird!”
“I know. I know.” Then still laughing, Nannygranne found 2 Corinthians 10:5. “Just take a look at this. Humor me.”
Chelsea, still smiling, shook her head and took the phone. “Ok. What does it say?” She began to read: “And we destroy every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
“Are you getting the picture yet? When we’re having thoughts that make us feel bad, we stop and use our mind’s eye to look at those thoughts and test them like Paul says in Romans. Then we see if they pass the test in Philippians: Is that thought true, honest, right, clean, respectable and beautiful? If not, then we can say to those thoughts, ‘Stick ’em up in the name of Jesus Christ! You’re arrested!”
Both laughing, Chelsea said, “Nannygranne, you always make me feel better. I love you being weird.”
“I’m glad, Chelsea. My mind works that way. But I’m going to be honest with you. Learning to not believe everything you think, but to choose your thoughts instead, is work for a lifetime. You’re just now old enough to recognize your thoughts and begin to learn to do this. But remember, you need the Holy Spirit’s help because He’s the only one who understands your thoughts and can hear Satan’s lies, too. And He will remind you of God’s way. Eventually He will make you wiser and stronger over time.”4
Chelsea hugged her friend.
Nannygranne took her hands and faced her. “So, when you find yourself thinking nobody’s going to like you next year, check to see if that’s a thought you want to keep or replace with the truth that somebody will like you next year. On top of that, there’s a whole list of people who pray for you and love you and want all the best for you. Can you remember that when unwelcome thoughts come into your mind?”
“Yep! I’ll just say, ‘Stick ’em up in the name of Jesus Christ! You’re arrested!’”
As they rejoined the others, Nannygranne laughed. “Oh Chelsea! I love you! You’re getting weird, too!”
1 John 15:14-15
2 I John 4:1
3 Romans 8:14-16
4 I Thessalonians 5:23