I was reminiscing with a friend today and cracking up over how we’ve changed since childhood, and boy, have I changed! Believe it or not, I was a little rough around the edges …. Well, I was more than a little rough around the edges. I was a real, bonafide “hellion,” as they call ‘em. I had a desk on reserve in the ISS room because I spent more time there than in the regular classroom. And it wasn’t for comfort’s sake. Actually, I think the ISS room in which I spent most of middle school in was a health violation. It was in the basement of the school, and it was cold all year round. And when the lady bugs got really bad, the ceiling was dripping them on us. They were everywhere. It was musty and moldy and gross. There was a one-man bathroom in the room that they actually made us use! And to top it all off, we even had to eat lunch down there too. Clearly, I did not do this for fun. I spent so much time in ISS because I couldn’t stay out of trouble. Trouble followed me like a pesty little brother. And what did I do? Well, the hellion that I was, I punched it in the face!
My most memorable “crime” from middle school was exactly that: I punched some kid in the face. Fifth grade, on the bleachers before school started, and he was one of my boyfriend’s best friends. I think fifth grade is the worst grade ever. Bodies are beginning to change and kids become really awkward, and really rude to each other as they all cope with their physical changes by poking fun at the next guy’s. Well, fifth grade was horrible for me. I didn’t grow like all my friends. I was still short and shapeless, but my hair was doing something completely ridiculous! It was curling, and not in a cute, Curley-Sue sort of way. It went from stick straight to poofy and wavy. And, the hair on my face darkened. Yep, I was that girl in fifth grade who got the moustache. And that was back when it wasn’t cool to be a girl with a ‘stache. Mine was very noticeable, and therefore, very ridiculed. I put up with it for quite a while. In retrospect, I still defend the day I put an end to all the stupid comments, because it ended a couple weeks after it started. Which was lucky for me because no girl out-’stached me until high school.
Anyway, that particular morning, I had had enough, and when the jokes started up, I took a very calm look at the boy pointing and laughing, and I moved toward him, and in one quick motion, punched him right in the face. But, one hit wasn’t enough for me, so I hit him again. In the end, I got about a dozen punches in before a teacher took notice and called me down to the gym floor. I calmly got up and walked with her up the stairs to the principal’s office, fully satisfied that I had hurt him as much as his words had hurt me.
From that day on, I had a reputation as a fighter. People just did not mess with me anymore after that. The moustache comments only happened outside my earshot after that, and any kid who dared get in my face about something didn’t ever dare to actually induce me to fight. I was mouthy and sarcastic, and great with insults and everyone in middle school saw me punch a kid in the face, so why would they want to pick on me? What none of them knew was this: I was not that fighter they perceived me as. I had a mean talk, but the truth was, my arms and legs turned to jelly when I got confrontational with people. I couldn’t have hit anyone who was actually going to engage me in a fight, because I would have been too scared to hurt them. The boldness to hit that boy that day was only there because I knew he wouldn’t ever hit me back. Back in the day, boys didn’t hit girls.
There were other times, though, when I was on the verge of a fight and thanked my lucky stars later that my mouth had saved me from getting beat up. For instance, there was this one time, I was standing in front of my locker and a girl in my grade confronted me about something. My mouth intimidated her enough to make her back down. To this day, I still remember that showdown, because I remember thinking afterward how lucky I was that we had not come to blows. Standing there with adrenaline rushing through me, knowing I didn’t have what it takes to fight her. How lucky I was that she didn’t pounce on me.
This scenario makes me think of our battle with the devil, and how in truth, we don’t have what it takes to fight him. All we have is our mouth. The Bible says to resist the devil and he will flee, and that speaking the name of Jesus in the authority of the Lord sends him running. How wonderful that is! And the better we become at waging this war, and the more we defend ourselves with the name and authority of Christ, the more wary the devil becomes of messing with us. “Resist the devil and he will flee.” In the same way that other kids were afraid to mess with me because they saw me fight once, the devil will become more afraid to mess with us once we’ve established ourselves as fighters! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being picked on.