This I Believe

Jessica - arlington, Virginia
Entered on July 20, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in myself. This is a huge change for me because I used to be the exact opposite. I used constantly put my self down. I never had a good thing to say about myself. I had the worst self-esteem and had even worst respect. I had no respect for my parents or myself. I was making wrong choices left and right. My grades and school work were also suffering from my problems. I had gotten so bad that my parents were thinking of sending me off to military school. I needed a good wake-up call to get myself out of the mess I was in. This all changed after a week in the woods and a day of house painting.

One week last summer I went on a mission trip with my youth group from church to a camp in North Carolina. My youth group along with about 50 other teens from churches all up and down the east coast met at the camp. On the way down there my friend and I were talking about our expectations for the camp. We were expecting it to be extremely boring and we would have wasted a week of our lives. We got there and were split in to group that we would be working with that week. Each day we were sent to a different person’s house to paint or built a deck or yard work or something like that. On the second day I was a bit annoyed with the work that I had to do. We were painting a house in the hot sun and all I wanted to do was sleep. My group leader saw that I was getting aggravated so she sent me inside to talk to the elderly women we were working for. I met Teresa, the daughter of the home owner, and she shared her life story with me. And it hit me that she went through the same things that I was going through. So I shared the fact that I was struggling and that I thought that I wouldn’t ever straighten up. She and I talked for what seemed hours. She told me how she turned her life around and is now very happy. I didn’t hear her say one negative thing about herself. I realized that I really wanted to change and I told her this. I wanted to be a better person. We talked and talked and finally my group leader came in and said that they were done painting the house. I knew what that meant. It was time to go. I thanked Teresa for talking to me. We exchanged numbers and she told me to call her if I ever needed to talk. I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.

I don’t think Teresa knew it but she helped me change my life. I won’t ever forget her. With out her by my side that day, I think I would still be the same. From that day on I started to believe in myself. I believed that I could change. My outlook on life changed. My attitude got drastically better and everyone noticed the change. I believed in myself and still do.