Looking Back: An Open Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Younger Self,                                                  

I'm not writing you this letter as someone who claims to know it all or have all the answers. I'm writing you this letter because I wish someone would have done the same for me when I was your age.

I know you're young. I know you're inexperienced. I know you think life is all about having fun. I know you're clueless as to the amount of evil in this sin-filled world. I know you have no idea how hard life can hit you or how fast it can come. I know you think that you're promised ninety years on this earth and have your whole life to do whatever you want to do. I know that you're scared of what the future holds. I know deep down you wish someone would just grab you by the shoulders, look you in the eyes and tell you everything that you need to know about life and all that it has to offer.

Like don't be afraid to live life and make mistakes. I know that you're going to want to play it safe so that nothing goes wrong, but don't. Get dirty, try new things, and make mistakes so that you will have an opportunity to learn from them. Don't try to live up to other people's expectations for you just to make them happy. If they really care about you they will still love you regardless. Live your life for you. Even if that means changing your major halfway through college.

Just do it. Whatever it is that you feel called or led to do, go for it. Start that business, go back to school, take that trip, say yes to that once in a lifetime opportunity, publish that book. Whatever it may be, don't put it off till tomorrow or let the opportunity pass you by. You only have one life on this earth so make the most out of it. Looking back you'll only regret the opportunities you didn't take.

Yes, sometimes you may try and fail. But I want you to embrace those failures. Don't try to ashamedly cover them up so no one will see, own up to them. Acknowledge them so that you can learn and grow from them. Those growing pains may hurt but they are beneficial. And, don't be too big to apologize when you're wrong. It won't kill you. I know you think it will but it won't. Plus being able to admit when you're wrong shows just how big you really are. So simply say sorry when necessary.

Friendships are also necessary, so choose them wisely. Don't worry about how many friends you have, but instead focus on the value within them. Make each friendship count. Find people who push you to be a better you. People who motivate you to step outside of your comfort zone. People who are like-minded and always point you back to the Cross. People who don't change no matter the circumstance, time or distance. Those kinds of friendships are hard to come by, but once you find them you'll appreciate them so much more. A few loyal friends are better than a million fake ones. So remember, quality over quantity. Always.

You'll understand this a lot better when you go to high school and college. Especially college. Your undergrad experience is one you can't get back, so make the absolute most out of it. Actually go to class and study. Get involved. Join an organization or two. Meet as many diverse people as you can. And cultivate those friendships that will last a lifetime. (side note: it's perfectly okay for you to miss that party to study -- trust me, there'll be another party the next week, and the next and the...you get the point)

Also, I want you to cherish your family. I know you love them, but I want you to really cherish them. Especially your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. All the advice they give, listen to it. Even when they start to get on your nerves with it. There'll come a time when they won't be there for you to call on so appreciate them while you can. Even when your life starts to become busy, make time to check on them and let them know how much they mean to you. Give them their flowers while they're still living.

And speaking of flowers, don't just give in to the first guy who offers to buy you flowers. There'll be plenty of guys who will try to slide into your life, and it's okay to turn them down. You don't have to entertain every hello. I know you have this whole idea of how your life will turn out -- when you'll get married, how many kids you'll have, what kind of car you'll drive, where you'll live, etc. But just chilllll. God is not nearly as concerned with your timeline as He is with His. So rest in His timing. Everything will happen exactly when and how it's supposed to. You may get lonely sometimes, but keep waiting for the one God has for you. When he finds you, you'll see why the wait was worth it.

And lastly but most importantly: Keep. God. First. Don't make plans and then ask Him to bless them. Put Him at the center of your plans and then watch how your plans succeed. No matter where you go or what you choose to do in life, if you have God on your side, you'll be alright. Trust Him with everything you got. Even when you can't trace Him, trust Him. Even when you think He's forsaken you, trust Him. Even when you can't hear His voice, trust Him. Even when society tries to tell you otherwise, Trust Him. His plans are good and His ways are perfect. Never forget that. And when you get older and a little bit wiser, you'll thank Him for allowing you to experience everything you went through in life.

So smile often, laugh a lot, forgive quickly and don't just exist in this temporal world. Go out and truly, truly live.

A wiser more mature version of you