My family had just moved to from Fruita, Colorado to Vernal, Utah. We left behind a strong family support system. We also left behind a tight nit LDS community. When we moved to Vernal all I wanted to do was fit in. Vernal is a small town and the social dynamic was very different from Fruita. I found a small group of friends who were and still are great people. Although, they did not share my same set of values. In fact I compromised on my values so that I could have them as friends.
As I hung out with these friends I started to compromise more and more on the values I once held dear and the faith that I once stood up for. My standards lowered and I started making decisions that my tight nit LDS community back home would not have approved of. I started dating seriously at the age of 14. All of my friends had boyfriends so why couldn’t I? I lied to my parents because everyone else did. I didn’t take school seriously. I didn’t want to go to church. I made reckless decisions. Still I tried desperately to do things that made me who I was as a person like going to seminary and participating in choir. No matter how hard I tried to be independent the need to have friends was suffocating. I continued this lifestyle until around my Sophomore year of high school and then something miraculous happened.
I knew that I didn’t like the person I had turned into. I had gotten to the point that I wanted to make new friends but I didn’t know how. My self-esteem was low and I doubted anyone would accept me for who I was. I met a girl who was in both my seminary and women’s choir classes. She was a bubbly, happy, young women who held the same standards as my LDS community back home. She introduced me to many new friends who would also help me in the process of changing. Instead of shamming me for the decisions that I had made she accepted me and helped me get back on the right track through her example. What probably only seemed like a new friendship to her was a new beginning to me. That year I made some pretty tough choices. I started trying to improve my relationship with my family, broke up with my long term boyfriend, and started taking church and seminary more seriously then I had in a long time. It was not easy. I was angry that I had caused so many people pain with the bad choices that I made. I was often tempted to return to my old lifestyle. I second guessed myself many times. I felt vulnerable. Throughout the process my friends helped me overcome obstacles that I could not have overcome alone.
On a particularly hard day I was sitting in Seminary. Events throughout the day had left me discouraged. Satan had been working really hard on me that day. I wanted to give up. The last thing I wanted was to sit through a lesson in Seminary. We had been studying the Doctrine and Covenants that semester. We were reading silently to ourselves and I read this passage.
Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9
THIS. I needed this. Without me even asking God blessed me with an answer to the very thing I was struggling with. Verses seven and eight comforted me and reassured me that God does not give us that which we cannot handle. In verse nine it states ‘thy friends do stand by thee’ and I knew this was true. I carried that scripture with me throughout the rest of my high school years and I still do to this day.
That day my friends did help me conquer my trials and I was able to move on from the struggle I was having in my heart. The friends you choose to have in High School do matter. They will help shape who you are as a person. If you are struggling with how you feel as a person take a look at the people you associate yourself with.