Don't get too excited. It would take me a minute for me to come up with a full blown letter to my younger self and y'all know I am pressed for time right now. But, I wanted to share a letter that Sarah Jakes wrote to herself that was really touching to me.
- Enjoy the fun side of college life.
- Save it for marriage.
- Don't take yourself too seriously.
- Spend more time with your girlsfriends.
- Burn the credit cards.
Maybe I'll write a letter one day but for now, enjoy this gem from my sister in christ (who I really feel like her sister sometimes from reading all of her stuff).
Be lifted my friends.
Reading through the manuscript for my memoir, Lost and Found, and wrote this letter for us. A letter to my old self. Sure I’ll need this again soon.. Hopefully it helps you too:
Everything you need to be beautiful, successful, incredible, blessed, trusted, respected, honored, and happy are already in your life. It may not seem like it, but its only because you’re focusing on the wrong things. Anything birthed prematurely risks complications. The complications you’ve faced that made you stop believing are all things that you gave birth to too soon. Still, God was kind enough to teach you a lesson from that journey that made you better for His use. Don’t take life into your own hands. Control the part of you that believes you know better than Him. Trust that if you don’t have it it’s because you aren’t ready for it. Believe that if it’s on your plate it’s because you can handle it. Stop doubting your strength and testing grace. Don’t do what feels right, do what makes you better. There will be countless things that allow you an escape from your insecurities, don’t use them. Instead, see your insecurities for what they are: places where love can fill in the gap. Love yourself enough that the insecurities have to become beautiful.
Be patient. Once you reach your destination you will wish that time would slow down. Find something beautiful about life everyday. Look beyond the bills, the heartbreak, the dying mother, absent father, the wild child, and the failed dreams. See the beauty in having another day, another chance. Choose to no longer worship the way things should have been. Praise God for knowing you weren’t ready.
You’re going to lose yourself along the way. It’s inevitable. You won’t always do things right, but no one else does either. No matter what they say or how beautiful their lives look from your view, we’re all carrying a weight. Stop trying to see theirs it’s keeping you from balancing your own. The moment you realize that you’re lost you will hide from those who know you best. Don’t. You will need them to remind you who you are when you forget. Their memories of your laughter will help you find your voice.
Watch out for “they” because they’ll always have something negative to say. They won’t always understand why you have to be so “much.” They will tell you it’s because you think you’re better than they are. They’re going to form a group and exclude you from it. You won’t understand it and it will make you pick yourself apart. Don’t. It’s not your sense of humor, your choice in music, your beliefs, or your struggles. Just be glad that you were brave enough to show your truth and have peace that it wasn’t meant to be understood by them. You only want people in your life who understand being connected to you adds “much” to them. You’ll feel like an outcast, but it’s okay. Great people are never fully understood just admired.
When you start to find your true identity people will still be looking for glimpses of the old you. Some will be unsuccessful, others will be content with learning the new and improved you. Have a memorial service for those who want to hold you to your mistakes and poor decisions. If that’s all they choose to see, then they shouldn’t be granted access to the blessing that is your journey.
This will be the hardest part: You’re going to lose people you thought could never walk away from you. As if you were nothing, they’re going to turn their back on you. You will beg and plead for a reason to apologize. You will comb through every conversation, moment, text, phone call, and encounter. You will look high and low for something that justifies being abandoned. Understand that you can only control your part. Insecurities ignored have symptoms. You can’t always fix those things with your love leave them to God.
You can love their brokenness, but only they can grant God the access to heal it. Do not think so highly of your love that you set it up against God. There are truly some storms only He can calm. A blood transfusion doesn’t heal the injury it only makes it easier to manage. When you give your love to another it should make life easier to bear. Your love may even save them from despair, but it can’t save them from life’s injuries. Some people are intent on hurting others, because it’s easier than admitting their hurting on the inside.
They aren’t evil. They’re broken. You don’t have to let them break you too though. You don’t have to lose yourself trying to save them. Be strong enough to choose you.
The moment you stop focusing on who God is in other’s lives you’ll find Him in your own. You will spend years seeing His hand on other’s lives and wondering why He has yet to touch your own. He has been with you everyday as consistent as the beat of your heart. You never knew He was there because He was born with you like the hair on your head. Others could see Him from the outside looking in, but because His presence was always with you, you took it for granted. Find Him in everything You do. May every word out of your mouth be a reflection of Him. That’s how you will become a light that the world cannot diffuse. When your light burns for Him the world will have to take notice.
You will make it. You will be lost.
…….. and found.