There is a Mercy Me song that keeps playing on the radio and playing through my head. Dear Younger Me. And as I’ve listened over and over again to the lyrics it’s made me wonder- if given the chance, what would I like to be able to say to a younger me?
There’s a trick here though, because it’s hard to know how much of who I am came from a result of the struggles and joys and breaks before now. The choices I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had- they pretty much equal the sum total of who I’ve become. What if I said something that prevented the greatest crack in me, the one that lets all my crazy show and lets all the light of God shine through? What would the world do without my special kind of crazy?
For the sake of this exercise, I’m putting all of that aside. If I could only do good by sharing these things with myself, this is what I’d say. And hold tight, the list is long.
You are enough! You don’t have to do or be or play or pretend or fake at being enough. You are, right now, just as you are.
Only one thing will fill that giant God-shaped hole in you. It won’t be good grades or boys or men or kids or stuff or jobs or service or food. For the love, IT WON’T BE FOOD!!
You are enough!
It’s not as bad as it seems. This moment, while it feels like forever, it’s not. It will pass and the weight of it will seem ridiculously light (especially compared to the real weight of some of what lies ahead. Though I wouldn’t really say that part because I’m sharing these things to encourage me, not scare myself into the fetal position).
There is a context. It’s bigger than what they’ve explained, and significantly more important than you currently realize. It is a pretty big deal. Trust me on this one and just don’t do it.
Those all-nighters in college, TOTALLY worth it! Stay up late playing cards and making memories and still make time to get good grades. Some day your kids will ask about your grades. You don’t want to have to lie.
You can be feminine and independent at the same time. Go ahead and wear the jewelry and the lipstick and stop assuming that people that take the time to do the same are any less deep than you. Get over yourself!!
Enjoy your body. Use it. Dance it. Explore it. Stretch it. Own it. Push it. And rest it. It’s the only one you get.
That is NOT love. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but love it is not!
Try guacamole sooner. And oatmeal is better if you put stuff in it- that’s what you’ve been missing. Oh, and don’t learn to say “just one more.” Because for you, that ends up meaning “just until the box is gone.” Remember that hole won’t be filled up with food (no, not even with delicious donuts!!).
It’s NOT ABOUT YOU. Let me tell you this one again: it’s not about you! Stop getting caught up in thinking it was something you did or didn’t do or that “if you had only.” Sometimes, often times, things and people just are, and it truly has nothing to do with you. Let them own their own stuff.
You do not have to tolerate inappropriate advances for the sake of being polite. People will be prone to cross the line with you- learn that shutting them down is not being unkind, it’s self defense.
Always carry an extra pair of panties in your car. Don’t ask, just pack them.
Pay more attention. Try to retain it. Not just for now, but for life. Some of these things are really important.
Stop trying to be perfect. News flash- you’re not. But no one else here is either. We’re all broken, just in different ways. Discover your brokenness, acknowledge it, admit it and move on. It doesn’t have to define you. In fact, in your particular case, it’s your brokeness and willingness to show it that draws people to you.
Set aside a lot of money for hair color. You will gray early and need it. Also, buy stock in Fruit of the Loom and Hanes, as some day you’ll have dogs. You’ll thank me later.
Mostly, try to relax a little. It’s a tricky road. But look for the words that will be a lamp unto your feet. Trust me, you won’t find your way very far in the dark, and you miss most of the beauty because you’re busy looking down. Things are so much better out here in the Light.
Oh, and always, always, always try to find a way to be kind. You decide later on in life you kinda want that to be your signature move.
Good luck, and I’ll see you at the end.