Often, there are nights that turn into mornings as you reflect on life… on decisions, on experiences, on regrets, on expectations. Sometimes you think back on choices made over the course of your life, wondering how exactly you got to this moment you’re in— this single moment in time, this moment that somehow defines exactly who you are, and who you will be. In the past, there were moments such as this one now, and in the future they’ll occur again; it’s a never-ending cycle. Wherever you are, whatever path you take, you’ll always remember how you got there, and as you see yourself in these glimpses of the past, you choke back the words you wish you could say. Maybe there’s advice you’d give yourself in a relationship, or strength you’d offer yourself in a time of weakness, or wisdom you wish you had during tough circumstances.
For me— tonight is one of those moments.
Tonight I’m wishing I could write a letter to a version of myself from the past. Maybe myself right before I started college; eighteen years old, ready to take on the world and naive enough to think I had my life all planned out. Now here I am, almost four years later, a year from graduating and entering the real world, and not a single thing I planned for my life has played out.
As I’ve learned more and more about myself over these past few years, I see glimpses of moments that I wish I could change. Moments that I look back on, and see someone that looks a lot like me, but seems so unfamiliar. And if I could tell that naive little girl just a few things, this is how I envision it might go:
To a girl searching for her place in the world,
/Be ambitious. Your dreams won’t make themselves happen. You want to be an author? Write. Write everyday. Write it all down— write your feelings, write your thoughts, write your heart. Don’t take no as an answer. Every time you fail, try twice as hard again. Know what you want out of life, and make it happen.
/You have a great family. You have incredible parents. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different- just because your family may not be what some people call normal, they are special because they belong to you. Cherish them, because more than anyone in your life, they will teach you the power of forgiveness. At some times, they’ll be the ones that hurt you the most, but at all times they’ll be the ones that love you the most.
/Learn to lay down your pride. Learn to apologize. Learn to say, “It’s my fault,” even if it isn’t. Avoid arguments at all costs- they aren’t worth your time or your energy. 9 out of 10 fights will be over ridiculous things that you’ll regret in the morning. Instead, work everything out fairly and with a good attitude, the outcome will be better than if you argue.
/Stop being selfish. In a few years, you’re going to realize how often you thought of yourself, and how little you thought of others. There are people around you that cherish you and would do anything for you. Cherish them back. Be selfless in your relationships. Learn what it means to humbly take a backseat to your own desires, to fulfill someone else’s. I promise it will be ten times more rewarding that anything you could want.
/Take the time to serve those around you. Serve in an environment that’s out of your comfort zone. But also, don’t forget to serve your friends; sometimes, they’re the ones that need you most. Relationships will come and go right now, but some friends will stick by you forever. Sacrifice for them. Be there when they need you. Open your heart up to them, even the darkest corners that no one has ever seen. You can trust them, so let them trust you too. Be honest, be honest, be honest. I can’t stress enough how much dishonesty can ruin any relationship in your life. Don’t let it. There will be a time that you allow it to. Learn from it so that it never happens again.
/You might think you need to prove yourself- don’t. To anyone. Ever. People love you for exactly who you are. They don’t love you based on your appearance, your weight, your assets, your intelligence - if anyone desires you solely for these things, run in the opposite direction. People like this are meant to tear down your self esteem, and you’re stronger than that. Don’t let people walk all over you. Be confident in who you are. Confidence is contagious and it’s attractive. So don’t be ashamed to work it, everyday!
/God is going to put an abundance of people in your path. He’s going to provide you with the chance to be loved by phenomenal people. Love them back. Soak in every moment that you have with them. Put them first. Show your love for them- every single day. And though you may not want to hear it, there will people that hate you too. Love them back ten times more. Even when it hurts. Pray for them. Even when it hurts. You’ll never wish you didn’t, but you might regret it if you don’t.
/Those amazing people? Not all of them will be there to stay. Know that people are going to leave you. People you thought would be around forever will walk out of your life, and you will have to let them walk. Don’t chase after them- your future is not tied to a single person that can leave you behind. You might feel like it’s your obligation to run after them; your heart might make decisions in the heat of the moment that you’ll regret in the morning. So don’t run; don’t chase; don’t follow your impulses. This is the time and place in your life that I’ll tell you not to follow your heart. Why? Because you always follow your heart, and this is your time to listen to your head.
/This is your time to learn who you are, your time to learn that it’s okay to be alone, that your relationships don’t define you, a man doesn’t define you. Your entire life, you have allowed everyone but yourself to tell you who you are, and you need these next years to figure it out for yourself. Use them wisely, because they won’t last forever. And I won’t lie- moving on with your life will be the hardest thing you ever do, and to an extent you may not ever fully let go. And it’s okay for it to hurt like hell to think back on certain memories, but that’s why everyday you must remind yourself that all of this is molding you into the woman you’re called to be.
/When it comes down to it, God is sovereign, and His plans will always work for your good, even when you don’t see it. Every choice you make is intended to bring you closer to the destiny He has called you for, so if ever you do take a wrong turn or get lost in the chaos, remember that as long as you focus on Him, you’ll end up where you need to be. And hey, don’t worry, because at this moment in time, you’re exactly where you need to be.