TEEN TUESDAY #1 (SHA SHA)
To start off our Teen Tuesday section, we have a vivacious, tenacious former teen who brightens up the world! I loved hearing from her and I think you will, too!
Can you introduce yourself? My name is Shasha, short for Natasha. I’m now in my third year of University. I’ve not been a teenager for 2 years now! I am studying to be a speech and language therapist.
Random facts about you? I tore my wrist tendon from arm wrestling once and I have a special love for peanut butter. I think it goes well with almost everything!
Please share a little of your background with us. My dad is Thai and my mom is Singaporean but I was born and raised in Thailand so I would definitely identify myself as Thai. My mom is a Christian and my dad is a Buddhist. But my siblings and I were all raised as Christians.
Can you share a little of your spiritual journey with us? Because I’ve grown up reading children’s bible and knowing about this man in the sky, I’ve never really given it much thought. I never explored the faith for myself, until I was 16 when I moved to ICS. Before that, for 3 years, I was dealing with an eating disorder that ate me up. I was left with depression, anger, hunger, and a skinnier version of myself that I still thought wasn’t good enough. Trust me, I’ve tried pushing these thoughts out of my head, but it was impossible. The fear of food and what it will do to my weight was constantly there. When I came to ICS, I felt that God was using everything around me to guide me to Him. Little things such as bible verses on the walls to Triple T talks about self-image, but I was still stuck in the loop of self-hate.
There was one night in my sophomore year where my parents sat me down and in desperation begged me to talk to them so that they can help. But in that moment, I did not have any words to say, all I had were feelings and emotions that were bursting inside me. Emotions that I do not know how to describe. I went back to my room and cried, cried because I didn’t know how to heal myself from my own thoughts, cried because I’ve caused so much pain for my family, cried because I felt so lost and so angry at the same time. Then, out of nowhere, I felt someone touching my right shoulder. It was a touch of reassurance, a touch that suddenly made me stop crying and it gave me this sense of peace, a peace that I never found the right words to describe. In that moment, I realised that I am not in this alone, that someone much greater and bigger than any of my fears is on my side. It was in that moment that I recognised God’s amazing love for me, despite what I think of myself.
During your teen years, what were the biggest areas of vulnerability that Satan used to hurt you? Definitely my physical image and comparing myself to others. I always felt that I wasn’t good enough and that then lead to jealousy.
What has God taught you through that journey? Looking at the bigger picture makes me realise that my feelings of self-hate and unhealthy comparison stemmed from a source of self-worship. I was so involved in myself, all the work-outs, the diets, the photoshopped Instagram posts. I lost my focus on something much greater than myself. I lost my focus on God, the only person who deserves all of my attention. Because I’ve put myself first and God as second, I wanted to do everything for myself and I stupidly believed that with a nice body, I will be happy. If I put God first, I will spend all my waking hours glorifying Him and be absolutely in awe of Him that everything else does not seem to matter.
What would you like to say to encourage teens? Think about your priorities. God has been teaching me many great (and difficult) lessons on what I place as my top priority. So, my advice is to pray for God to search your heart and ask Him to lead you in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). Also remember that your identity and confidence do not lie on what others think of you, it doesn’t even lie on what you think of yourself! Our identity and confidence lie in what God thinks of us and over and over again, He tells us that he sees us as His sons and daughters. This has nothing to do with how popular, nice or friendly we are but it is all because Jesus has clothed us all in righteousness.
The best way to contact Shasha is through e-mail: Natasha.firstname.lastname@example.org