I see you sitting there with your big glasses and your curly frizzy hair wearing that Aeropostale shirt of yours (because you can’t afford Hollister or Abercrombie). You look a little confused and scared. Not sure about who you are in this world. Not sure about where you fit in. Not sure what God has in store for you next.
Well darling, you’re in luck! Your 23 year old self is here and she’s gonna shed some light for you.
Before I start, I want to get a few things out of the way. First of all, that straightener of yours lying on your dresser? Go and get it right now and put it right where it belongs: in the garbage can. You hate your curly, messy, sometimes crazy hair but it’s so much more beautiful that way, honestly. I wouldn’t lie to myself now, would I?
And those glasses of yours that you absolutely can’t stand because they cover half of your face? Embrace them. In ten years glasses twice that size will be in style. Seriously. You’re just ahead of the game.
Now, on to the more serious stuff.
I have good news and bad news for you.
The bad news? Your life doesn’t turn out at all how you expect it to. You’re not married with three kids yet, working at a part time job, and taking yearly trips to visit gypsies and orphans in Ukraine that you love so much. Crazy, I know.
The good news? That’s not such a terrible thing. In fact, it’s the BEST thing for you. It doesn’t seem like it to you at this moment, but let me tell you… here’s a sneak peak to lesson #1 in life: God’s plan for it is so much better than your own.
Don’t forget to remind yourself of this in ten years when you sit down to write yourself another one of these letters and you don’t find yourself exactly where you planned to be. (Although, I’m hoping the husband and the three kids will already be in the picture.) 😉
If I could go back in time I would do one thing: give you the biggest hug in the world and tell you that everything will turn out okay. That it won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it at the end.
There’s a million things I would tell you. So much advice I could give. I don’t know where to start exactly so I’ll start right here:
-If you’re sitting down right now then get up and go stand in front of your mirror and repeat these three words after me “you are beautiful”. You really are. Even with those big glasses of yours. Even with your frizzy hair. Even without the expensive clothes that you can’t afford. Even without makeup. God created you so unique, so special, so different than any other girl in the world. There’s nothing you can do to add to that beauty. Nothing you can do to take away from it. Just learn to love yourself and embrace it.
-See that Bible lying on your desk? The Bible you wake up at 5am to read? The Bible that keeps you up late at night? Keep on reading it. Keep on living by it. That book is going to get you through quite a few trials, quite a few battles, quite a few falls. Don’t ever neglect it. Don’t let it collect dust on your shelf. It’s your spiritual food. It’s your weapon for war. It’s everything that you will need to be victorious in your walk with Christ. It’s everything that you will need to guide you through this life.
-And that prayer closet underneath the stairs, with the blankets and pillows inside all set up for you. That secret place you go to for just you and God? Never stop going there. Even if you fall asleep accidently sometimes. Even if you are tired. Even if life gets way too busy. That daily time with God is what you need to live life meaningfully. To walk with faith. To remain hopeful for the future. To not stumble and fall. It’s only in that special place where it’s just you and God that you will get the strength you need to face the day, the endurance you need to get through the night, the guidance you need to fulfill God’s Will for your life. Go to that place, always.
-Let’s move on to something fun: boys. Specifically, that one boy. That one cute boy that you are so crazy about. The one you pray for so many nights. The one that gives you butterflies every time he passes you by or glances your way. The one that doesn’t know you exist most of the time. Forget him. For real. I know that seems absurd at this moment. Unthinkable. But honestly? You will never be anything but invisible to him. And at the end? He doesn’t even turn out to be all that you thought he would be. He’s not worth your time. He’s not worth your tears. He’s not worth your efforts in vain of trying to keep him near. I wish I could tell you prince charming came and swept you off your feet already. That’ll be for the next letter around. Until then… don’t worry about these “frogs” that keep on coming and going your way.
-One of the biggest thing you’re worrying about right now is this: your purpose in life. You are passionate about God. You have the desire to serve others. You want to go on a mission trip to Ukraine to help the orphans. You want to go on the streets and help the homeless. You want to find your “niche” in church. Do what God has called you to do. But you’re shy. You’re insecure. And you don’t know how in the world God can possibly use a mediocre little girl like you. I have two words for you: don’t worry. God is going to work in your life in ways you can’t imagine. He’s going to send people your way that will challenge you in your walk with Him and help guide you in figuring out what your purpose is. He will mold you into the girl you never thought you would be: a girl who isn’t so shy in front of people, a girl who isn’t so intimated by doing things that are out of her comfort zone, a girl that knows exactly what God has called her to be and is doing it with all her heart. I know… why? Because today I am that girl. So don’t worry right now about not understanding how it will all work out. Don’t worry about not knowing where you fit in and what your role will be. God will get you there in His perfect time.
-Next is another fun one: parents. You love them, you do, but sometimes they drive you crazy. They are too strict with what you wear, with where you go, with who you hang out with, with what you do. The curfew they set is too early, their “rules” don’t always make sense, and some days you just wish they’d let you off more easily. And they always say “we just want the best for you” and you try to believe them, but you don’t. Well honey, it’s the truth. They do want the best for you. They always have and they always will. Never doubt that no matter what methods they use to raise you. What words they say or don’t say. What things they do or don’t do. They are one of the greatest blessings in your life. Parent who have raised you well, taught you about loving Jesus, taught you to serve others around you. Whatever you feel like doing at this moment just always make sure to do one thing: obey them, tell them you love them, pray for them. By doing so you will only bring blessing upon yourself.
-Last but not least, never forget this one thing: just be you. Do the things you enjoy doing. Write in your journals. Read your millions of books. Get those A+’s in school. Help out at church in any way that you can. Go on that mission trip you’ve been wanting to go on with your uncle. Wear your bright, colorful outfits. Keep your hair curly. Dance in the rain at that church parking lot when no one’s watching like you always like to. And never try to be anything you’re not. You’re the only you this world has got. Don’t try to be like anybody else.
When you fail, it’s not the end of the world. Just get back up.
When life is hard don’t run away from your problems. Face them. Learn from them. Grow from them.
Don’t overanalyze every little detail of your life. Don’t dig too deep into your past. Don’t worry about your future. Learn to embrace this present moment and make the most of it. In the end… that’s all you got. The rest? God will take care of it, I promise.
My final words to you is this: you are about to face a season in your life that’s one of the hardest. It will be hard to see God’s hand in it. It won’t make sense. It will make you question a lot of things about life and your place in it. But don’t worry, God is faithful. He will be with you every step of the way and he will get you through. When it seems dark… don’t fear, the light is just right around the corner.
Trust God. Turn to Him. He will never leave your side. And because of that you have nothing to worry about for you are eternally blessed.
A daughter designed by God’s own hands. And as your father, he will never let you down. Never forget that.
Your 23-year old self.. –Anna… ♥