By Katie Ginn

Nobody’s at their best in high school, right? As a teenager, I was insecure, opinionated, and judgmental, and I let those traits sour into gossip. This affected my friendships, especially with other girls.

Thanks to a real relationship with Jesus, I eventually repented of some of that. But I still had to give myself a pep talk before visiting a women’s Bible study as a 22-year-old:

“OK, Katie. You’re going to have a good attitude, these women are going to be nice, and you’re going to make friends. It’s going to be good.” And it was!

Still, though. I loved serving on the setup team for that church, because the team was made up mostly of guys. I had a couple of close female friends – but if I had to be around more than, say, five people, I preferred men. This meant fewer “threats” in the form of potentially cuter, smarter women. I also hoped it meant more attention from guys, who perhaps would be impressed with my ability to roll roadie cases. (Read: They were not.) 

I’d like to say that age and marriage have grown me out of all this insecurity, but truth be told, sometimes I still get jealous of other women’s shiny wardrobes or “perfect” bodies. 

However, in 2022, I started going to boot camp at the Madison Healthplex Performance Center. That’s where I met Morgan, an attorney whose heart lies in coaching and training (she recently joined the Healthplex staff full time). 

When I first saw Morgan, I thought, “Wow, she is really, really pretty. And incredibly fit. She looks like a brunette Barbie doll with muscles.” I was all set to hate her, but then I loved how she consistently made little jokes at her own and others’ expense. 

Then one day a young man ran in with a stack of sweat towels for the class, she said, “Oh, thank you, Aidan. That’s kind.”

Hmmm, that’s kind. Is she kind?

She is. And encouraging, and invested in every client. She’ll post Instagram photos of us doing a deadlift or something, and she’ll fail to mention that we’re probably lifting her “warm-up” weight. Instead, she’ll caption those pictures as if we’re Olympians and she’s privileged to know us. In person, she’ll call us out if she knows we can lift more, and she’ll cheer for us when we finally do it.

Morgan is so aggressively NOT about herself, she’s given my fleshly mind the grace to not see her as a “threat,” and I’m free to follow her example, if I only will. Oh, and yes, she’s a believer.

I wish I’d had a coach like Morgan in high school. Then I might’ve realized I could encourage other girls without giving up my worth.

Morgan’s influence reminds me of a passage in Michael Crichton’s 1995 novel “The Lost World.” In the scene, a woman named Sarah is talking with a 13-year-old girl named Kelly, who loves math. Here’s a paraphrase of their dialogue, starting after Kelly says sadly that boys aren’t into smart girls:

Oh, who says that? Sarah asks.

My mom, Kelly says.

Well, she probably knows what she’s talking about, Sarah says.

Well, I don’t know, Kelly says. She always dates jerks.

So, she might be wrong? Sarah asks.

I guess so, Kelly says.

I don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything Sarah does in the book (which is “rated R” for language and violence), but this dialogue makes me want to jump and shout. Go, Sarah! Correct those lies!

Of course, Jesus is the ultimate lie corrector and truth teller. When His people think that no traitorous tax collector could be saved, He calls Zaccheus a son of Abraham (Luke 19:9). When a Pharisee assumes that no rabbi would associate with a sinful woman, He says He’s forgiven her (Luke 7:47).

If you know Jesus, be like Him. Be the friend, the encourager, the role model, whose company and conversation will correct the lies people believe. They’ll probably wonder why you’re so different. When they ask – please, please tell them it’s Jesus.

PS: Learn more about fitness trainer Morgan Keup on season 1 of my NEW podcast, “Oh My Word with Katie,” launching later this month! I’ll be sharing believers’ real-life stories – the good, the bad, and the “oh my word” – and I’d love for you to listen. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and follow @ohmywordpod on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Pro-Life Mississippi