My Worst Enemy when I was 13
When I was 13 these things did not exist:
- Plastic bottled water
- Microwave dinners
- Fear of alien invaders from Mexico
But we did have these things:
- Ocean water
- TV dinners
- Fear of alien invaders from space
Indeed, when I was 13, one of the coolest things on television was a miniseries about alien invaders from space who come to bottle all our ocean water, and actually turn humans into TV dinners. The show was simply called: V.
And like any good story, the bad guys (the aliens) pretended to be the good guys (just like us) and it took the heroes no small amount of snooping around to discover the truth. The aliens didn’t come to help us, but to kill us. Which meant, in short: they were our enemies.
Speaking of killing, when I was 13, Dustin Pauly* wanted to kill me after school in real life.
I don’t remember why. I only remember being threatened and bullied.
I wasn’t particularly scared of Dustin. As I recall, the girls liked him more for his hair than his muscles. But I was very scared of fighting anyone. Physical conflict was not my strong suit.
And so, in short: Dustin became my enemy.
However, if we could go back in time and do some snooping around to discover the truth, like the heroes in V, we would likely discover a plethora of good reasons why Dustin wanted to beat me up.
You might have wanted to beat me up.
In fact, when I look back on myself when I was 13 I see that my worst enemy was never Dustin.
My worst enemy when I was 13 was me.
Last week I revealed four lies I believed when I was 13, and in this post I want to share five more lies I believed back then that brought far more pain and internal conflict into my life than Dustin Pauly ever could have.
And like last week, I share the five lies below, not as if I were talking to you, but as if I were able to go back in time and talk to myself. Join me as I attempt to open my own 13-year-old eyes.
Perhaps you will find similarities to lies you believed when you were 13. Or perhaps lies you believe even today. (For lies 1-4 click here.)
Lie #5: Sweating is bad.
You avoid sweating almost as much as you avoid fighting. However, if you will start taking baby steps in taking care of your body, you’ll thank your 13-year-old self when you’re my age.
I know the 10-min mile seems impossible to you right now, but start with a 10-min half mile and work your way up. Build your endurance as you build your tolerance for sweat, because you will need both if you’re going to accomplish anything in this world.
Lie #6: It’s your body and you can eat if you want to.
Speaking of building your endurance, you know your body doesn’t belong to you, right?
Of course, usually when you hear that verse it’s associated with sexual purity, but it’s so much bigger than that. It’s about glorifying God in the glorious body he’s given you.
Now admittedly, your body doesn’t quite exude glory right now with those love handles you carry around. There isn’t anything wrong with love handles, but there is something wrong with not knowing when to say, “When.”
And you don’t know when to say, “When!” You only know how to say, “More please!”
Look. You’re 13 now, so stop making your mom play the role of dietary Nazi, and start taking responsibility for what you put into your body. And how much.
Lie #7: You don’t have time for delayed gratification.
Curiously, while you will absolutely despise all that extra pudge around your waist and neck and cheeks (oh those pinchable cheeks!), you won’t do a thing about it. Even though you are convinced it’s likely the only thing standing between you and getting the girl of your dreams.
Speaking of the girl of your dreams, if you had the opportunity to choose between instantly winning a fried chicken dinner with extra crispies at Long John Silver’s or the affection of a fair lady, you’d choose the girl every time.
However most choices aren’t “instant win” choices. You almost always have to choose between one or more options that offer immediate, but limited benefit (all fried foods) and one or more options that promise greater benefit, but not right away (the admiration of someone you’ve admired for some time). And, the sad reality?
The best choices often deliver delayed benefits.
And that’s why you hold onto those love handles and lose out with the ladies.
Lie #8: Your value lies in the affection of the fairer sex.
Speaking of your obsession with the ladies. As normal as that is, yours is a little intense, because you have bought into the lie that a pretty girl makes you pretty important. Actually, very important.
To be sure, relationships are what life is about, but like I urged you when you were nine, pursue friendship! First with the guys. Then, after learning to grow in healthy intimacy with dudes, begin with the dudettes – that’s friendships with the girls.
Getting a girlfriend can wait (and should). Learning how to be a good friend can’t.
Lie #9: Your sex drive is driven by the pursuit of pleasure and pure animal instinct.
Of course you want a girlfriend to give you more than perceived worth. You want a girlfriend to give you other things too. That is to say you want to get some kissy-face on with your arms wrapped around each other like you’ve seen in all the movies and TV shows you watch.
Of course, you don’t want to go too far. But mark my words, unless you grasp what’s actually driving your sex drive before you grab that first girlfriend, you will go too far. Way too far.
No, not that far, but far further than you would have ever hoped.
And the reason why is very simple:
Your desire for physical affection from a special female goes far deeper than what you were taught in sex education.
It’s so much more than just the fun of making out (although that can be a lot of fun) and it’s driven by something far more powerful than hormones (although those are for real).
Your sex drive is driven by a search for significance, because you think that the more of herself a girl would want to give you the more powerful, amazing, desired and loved that would make you.
But myself, oh myself, you will never ever ever discover your significance through sexual experience. Many, many, MANY others have tried before you, but instead of coming to know their worth, they have come to know only their wickedness. And instead of self-discovery, their desires lead them into destruction.
I have so much more to say to you on this topic, but that’s enough to think on for now.
Oh, and I can’t remember what you said to make Dustin Pauly so mad, but be a real man and take responsibility for your actions and words.
[For the last four lies I believed when I was 13 click here to read: My Virtue and Miami Vice]
* Not his real name. But he was real. And he had a real name.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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