Sometimes, humans can be stubborn. Most times, humans will be stubborn. I have always had to fight the temptation of pride. When I was younger, I would be under the impression that my way of doing something was the best way of doing something. However, when my dad corrected me, or tried to tell me a better way of going about things, our conversation would inevitably end in, “Lauren, stop talking—LAUREN, stop talking” as I was digging myself in a deeper and deeper hole, thinking I knew best. Still, time and again, after being scolded by my parents I kept making the same mistakes. Surely, 13 year old Lauren would mature out of this mindset—yet, it has been a slow and painful process.
In college, this hard-headedness manifested itself differently. As an innocent college freshman, I had great intentions of not falling into the lifestyle of the rest of my swim team. That all changed…about the first weekend I arrived. I ended up going to a party, and from that point on, struggled for the next two years going through phases of making bad decisions, regretting them, swearing them off, then falling back and repeating that cycle.
My junior year, I felt God saying to me, like the author of Hebrews was saying, “What more evidence do you need that my way is the best way??”. After a typical night out with my team, I was sexually assaulted by one of my male teammates. This was God shaking me to my core, in order to shake my stubbornness out.
God had shown me before the fruit of living a wholesome life. My Senior year of high school was such a fun year, having gotten more plugged in at church, while surrounding myself with a Christ-loving, supportive group of friends. When I arrived at UGA, I did neither of these things. It was as if the Lord was saying, “What more shall I say?” It was as if, since I had forgotten all the fruit that came with trusting the Lord, now he had to try to deter me from running away. Eventually, I got the message. As my mom would say—in a thick southern accent—“That’s just nawt the Lawd’s best for you.”
However, since turning back to Jesus and pursuing the Lord’s best, I can attest to everything that is being said in Hebrews 11. I was weak, both mentally and spiritually; mentally, after what happened to me, and the backlash I got for coming forward. I was depressed. It was difficult for me to get out of bed, and I always felt on the verge of tears or throwing-up when I was around my teammates. Anxiety was taking over my life, and I would have panic attacks randomly triggered. Yet, through Christ I became strong. Although it took about 15 months, I became able to share my story. I could stand up to those who shamed me, and share how I overcame through Christ. To me, this seemed like a war on my team. A war with darkness. My Senior year, I began a Bible study, and since then, 5 or 6 girls have accepted Jesus. We are winning that war.
“We were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” This was true two-thousand years ago, and it is true now. I’m sure my stubbornness is far from softened completely, and, as I head into marriage, I will become much more self-aware. However, I can say that Christ’s power is unchanging. I am so thankful that his voice of awakening has been able to shake off some of my stubbornness and reveal just how fruitful following Him can be.
This year I have been leading a 10th grade discipleship group. Now, I feel as if I am in a position of wanting to shake my 10th grade girls and say “what more can I say?!” when they are telling me about their unhealthy high-school relationships. It is my responsibility to speak truth to them, and try to incite a wakeup call to those who might need it—but ultimately it will be God who opens their eyes. He has to be that voice to make people realize that through Him we are how we were created to be. “What more can I say?”
Lauren Harrington interned in Washington, DC and is a graduate of the 2015-2016 Capital Fellows Program