Well, here you are, younger me. Look at you. I wish I still had your younger skin.
You will graduate high school, then college, then get married, get a job, have some kids… a basic sort of plan for most folks. Life holds some very pleasant things in your future.
But if you look underneath the surface, you will discover something. Your life ahead is not going to go as you planned or imagined. Now, don’t get scared. It’s just that some surprises loom ahead that you cannot, or did not, foresee. No, they will not be enjoyable. You will be hurt. You will cry in your pillow. You will cry out to God. You will walk through some dark places. At times, you will think you are the only one in the world going through that particular hardship.
Remember this: you are feeling what all other human beings, created in the image of God, experience: pain, loneliness, suffering, loss, anguish, confusion, frustration, grief.
Remember this: you are not alone.
You will not be able to avoid some of these difficult times ahead. But, I want to tell you something that is going to help you. See those bumps in the road ahead? They are Jesus’ hands. He is holding you through them all. Don’t neglect to see His hands. Those hands are bruised and pierced, because He wanted to carry that burden for you. You drew closer to Him through those challenges.
Go to those older and wiser than you, and ask for advice. Tell them your situation, your dilemma, your problem, your question—whatever it may be. Talk to more than one person; talk to several. Don’t rely on your own wisdom. Don’t live on an island. You need other people around you.
Pray over it. Pray, pray, pray.
Then, pray some more.
Nobody ever said they prayed too much. So go ahead – make it your goal to try and pray too much.
Don’t hide from the truth, no matter how difficult it might be. Make sure you know the difference between safe and unsafe people. Don’t let unsafe people run over you. But don’t let safe people get away, either.
Be deliberate about making friendships work. They take time, effort, and heaps of grace. Be able to give relationships all three.
And another thing. This is really important.
You see, the thing I want to tell you, younger me, is to take risks. It’s not about the things you did. It’s about the things you didn’t do.
What fears hold you back? What busyness prevents you? What makes you say no every single time? Your life will be haunted by the specters of what you didn’t do rather than the things you did. So, go out and do them.
You are going to learn some things about God and what He thinks specifically about you and your life. I don’t want to tell you everything right now, but suffice it to say, you’re going to want to hear every single word.
This life is a gift. You aren’t going to like this cliché — but it goes by faster than you can blink.
Now go. Go and live your life. Give it the best you’ve got.
What would you tell YOUR younger self? I’d love to hear- please share in the comments below.