I used to preface all of my stories that way when I was a kid, even if the story I was telling was about a few days prior. Now I can legitimately say that when I was a younger girl I could have sincerely benefited from having an older girl mentoring me. Since college I’ve had women brought into my life to reveal my identity, but what about before?
I just recently went back through old journals and it was a crazy awesome experience because I was able to cross out lies I told myself and circle truths and even write little notes to that my younger self in there. It was transformative and got me thinking about what else I might write to that younger girl. So, here’s some of what I’d tell her.
– You are truly funny. You have been given the gift of joy and God loves it when you share that with others. It’s not too proud for you to share that, because you were meant to! But while you’re sharing it, remember not to make people laugh at your own expense, because eventually it will wear on you and you will believe those things about yourself, it will end up fostering bitterness and isolation. So, be free to be funny in your unique way regardless of other’s responses.
– Take some time to sit and study YOUR likes and dislikes? Don’t apologize for it. It’s okay to like Hanson and Beanie Babies (everybody secretly does anyway), and don’t watch, listen to, or do anything just because others say you should. Sure, try them out (within reason) but ultimately embrace your own identity.
– Ask questions! Don’t be embarrassed by your lack of understanding on the first go around. Cut yourself some slack, and know it is okay to ask for clarification and it’s okay to not know obscure references or remember every fact from every lesson you’ve been taught.
– Everything is going to be okay. You’re going to find out some crazy stuff about your family and your dad is going to move pretty far away and start a new life without you. God will tell you He is going to take over and I just want you to know that He did and is and it is going to completely rock your world!
– Have grace for your mom during this time. You aren’t the only one who is angry, scared, and hurting. Love her unconditionally and accept her. Do not try to take over her role; you are still a kid. You are not responsible for her happiness but you are to simply love and have grace.
– Don’t be intimidated by your little sister’s choices and boldness, but call her often, love her, and relate to her. She is the best friend you will ever have and after years of speaking life and freedom into her she will one day make you cry because she will speak it over you as well. Be patient in love with her and tell her she’s worth it every day.
– When you feel the nudge to not be in unhealthy relationships anymore, do something about it. Do not stay with guys who don’t know your worth. When they tell you that you are not enough, tell them to take a freaking hike. There’s a man of integrity that God has created for you that is never going to tell you those things and it’s going to be beyond awesome. (It’s not time for that yet, but don’t let that scare you.)
– When God clearly tells you that someone is not “the one” seriously, listen. He’s your Father, and He’s got your best interest at heart. Also, he was divinely right and it will save you a lot of heartache.
– Admit your feelings. If you’re scared, lonely, hurting, angry, talk to someone about it. Don’t be so concerned with holding it all together, it’s not your role, you’re just a kid/young adult. Lay in the sunshine and ride your bike around with your friends, laugh more and just be.
– Stop cutting your hair so freaking short, you hate it that way! You hate it every time. Grow your hair long and wear pretty skirts and funny t-shirts and roll in the sunshine and go on road trips to random places with your kick ass friends.
– Speaking of, in high school when you randomly get tickets to a Britney Spears concert after screaming at the top of your lungs at a hockey game with your best friend Amy… BRING AMY to the concert! Do not bring the popular girl from school because she loves Britney. You will not (and don’t need to) be popular because of it and you will lose your friendship with Amy. It will suck.
– Be yourself, fully. Don’t let anyone shame your for being who you are.
– While you’re at it, be friends with the people who care to know you, stop striving to know people who don’t.
– Conquer your fear of speaking in public, because you have good things to say and you have a voice.
– Spend more time at Nana’s baking, it’s one of your favorite past times now and you’ll wish you’d started doing it sooner when you lived close by.
– When you try to skateboard at age 19 to maintain balance during the surfing off-season, you’re going to fall and hit your elbow pretty hard. You’re even going to go cry to your mom. It’s going to be really funny later. Do not stop skateboarding; get back on… preferably with proper padding. Also, keep surfing because the water is somewhere God speaks to you.
– Take more risks, and learn to do more things! Find yourself, not other people. You are you, you are not them.
– You are going to travel around the world a bit, but God is mainly going to call you to work in schools here for awhile and work with kids and you are going to make a huge difference and your life will change forever. You will prophesy and make change and be a warrior for others and it will be so good. You will also receive prophesies for you and promises from God (yes, God will even speak out loud sometimes), keep them in your heart and trust that you are worthy of those promises.
– Even though the church has let you down, God will have you return to it and redeem those places in you so don’t rush that. Just breathe, relax, grow, and learn to love the church in spite of their flaws and have grace for the process. All of those things that confused you about the church growing up will be articulated over time, don’t be afraid to step back and search.
– Find people you connect with and keep in touch. Travel to their weddings and visit them sick or well. Friends are friends forever, don’t you remember that song?
– Don’t write people off for being who they are just because you’re afraid of being who you really are. Just let it go and be you because you’re freaking amazing and don’t ever forget it! Being yourself is one of the most amazing feelings in the world because you are accepting who God has made you to be and finding that it is in fact awesome in a very humbling and holy way.
Now to 27-yr old self. You might need to be reminded that 27 is the perfect time to follow your heart, follow your dreams, let it all go, be where you are, and love yourself like you choose to love others. You can open your heart a little bit more, silently laugh at a picture of a cat that has inappropriate language while sitting in a café by yourself, you can sing karaoke at the top of your freaking lungs WITH hand movements, you can crochet, dance, paint, sing, discuss life and God. You are lovely and worthy and I know you know all of this but I just wanted to remind you. I am so proud of you older girl.
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long until the weather clears and the sun shines bright. We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us…but for right now, until that completeness, we have 3 things to do: Trust steadily, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.”
~ I Corinthians 13: 11-13