I see so many posts these days entitled, “A Letter To My Younger Self”. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. Everyone, especially as we get older, thinks about how life would have been different. Sprinkle in a little “if I had” or “if I hadn’t” and you got yourself a great post!
I know. I wrote one.
Then I had a thought…
What good will it do me to write a letter to my younger self? I don’t believe in time travel. And thinking backwards is certainly not what God calls us to do. We must press ON…toward the mark of the high calling (Philippians 3:14). Onward and upward! Leaving the past in a well tucked little corner of my mind.
There are two things that looking back accomplishes, really.
- Fond memories and peaceful recollections. I enjoy nothing better, sometimes, than to reminisce. It just feels good, especially when thinking about my children. This is great.
- Thinking about “what could have been”. This is detrimental. Of course, we all have regrets. No one is immune from that. But if we spend too much time thinking, or even mourning, over the past, it becomes toxic. Better to move on.
What To Do Instead
I figured, instead of writing a letter to my younger self, why not do something more beneficial? Why not write a letter to younger women who ARE where I WAS?
That’s part of my thing these days. I sometimes find myself telling my daughter, “I wish I could just take you by the arm, whisk you through time, and let you see how different your life will be in another ten short years.”
And it’s true. I think if I could have any superpower, I’d want it to be that.
I mean, I don’t know that it would help. I’ve wondered countless times if it would have helped me and I can’t say that it would have. I can’t say that it wouldn’t have either, but such is life. Maybe, just maybe, we are MEANT to go through our own “stuff” on our way to being grown up. No matter how long it takes us. Maybe we have a set path, so to speak.
What I’d Say To Younger Women
To be honest, this list could probably going on for pages and pages and pages and…
You get the drift?
I don’t claim to be an expert in any field! As a matter of fact, I tried to start a YouTube channel with the name “Master of None”, but it was already taken. It was going to be my way of saying, you know you don’t have to be perfect at anything, just try. But I guess somebody’s already saying something like that. 🙂
So I’ll try to condense it to a few things that might just help a younger woman who still has a long row to hoe, as the old timer’s use to say. My prayer is that someone sees and benefits.
Why do I set this as the very first thing I’d tell young women? Because it is, by far, without a doubt, the MOST important thing you will ever do in your life. One of my biggest regrets at this point in my life is that I wasted so many years without God!
I often wonder how my life, and the lives of others, would have been different. What if I had fully surrendered to God and been obedient from a young age? Would I have led more people to Christ? Could I have made a difference at the jobs I worked? Could I have missed all those hard learned lessons in broken hearts, drugs and alcohol? Maybe I would have been a better friend, daughter, sister or coworker!
The truth is, God uses a willing vessel. If only I’d been willing much earlier. Believe me, girls, once you have children, you don’t want to regret the “better mother” you could have been with God in control.
Don’t Worry So Much
This goes right along with finding God! With Him in control of your life, you’ll find fewer things to worry about, if any at all. He is willing and able to take care of everything you put in His care. Hand things over to Him and watch them work out in ways you couldn’t even imagine!
That car you think you can’t live without…you can. That boy that makes you think you’ll never be able to love anyone else…you will. That fight you had with your parents/sibling/boyfriend that you think made them hate you forever…they don’t.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Not everything that feels momentous “in the moment” is going to make or break you as a human. I’ve watched my favorite car get hauled off after I wrecked it. Life went on. I cried for nights on end when that relationship I thought was “the one” ended. Life went on. I flunked out of college, after fighting for that near-perfect high school GPA, after wanting to quit high school. Life went on.
It can be so huge “in the moment” and so insignificant looking back. Trust me, the world doesn’t stop turning because things don’t go the way you want them to. God may have other plans that you just weren’t ready to see!
Don’t Let Others Make Your Choices For You
This is another biggie, especially for young women. You are likely to hear various things, depending on what region you’re from and what other women in your family have done.
For instance, if your mother was a strong woman, went to Harvard and became a doctor or a lawyer, she’s going to want that for you too. If she was from a poor family and never had anything her whole life, she might want you to marry someone from a higher social status than her own. If you were raised by feminists, they also have ideals on what you, as a young woman, should be.
The truth is, there is a specific somebody that God created you to be. He knew you before you were created in your mother’s womb (Psalm 22:9; Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 44:2, 24) and He already knew where you would be going in life. He will reveal that to your heart and to your mind and at some point, if you listen to Him, you will know what that is.
Being what someone else wants you to be, even if their intentions are the very best, is not always what’s best for you. That is something better worked out between you and God than you and any other human being.
It’s Not Over Til It’s Over
The above are just three of the most important things I have found for knowing who you are in this world. Things I wish someone would have pounded into my head at a much younger age 🙂 I’m thankful, though, for all the prayers of the Godly women in my life. Lord knows I cast their advice aside more often than not. Were it not for their prayers, perhaps I never would have made it all.
To those young women who still have a long way to go, I encourage you! God never wastes a thing: not a tear, not a heartache, not a single one of those things you think are going to break you. It’s not going to break you. It’s going to make you stronger.
And I pray that God speaks to you today, right where you are, right when you need Him!