Dear Younger Self,
There’s something to be said about the mystery of the unknown and how it drives each one of us. It affects us each in a different way, but it drives you to trust that God is in control and working behind the scenes for His and your good. Your life won’t be much of what you thought it would be in your late 20’s, but you’ll be surprisingly thankful that things didn’t go the way you had planned. And when that happens, as it so often will, it will be what turns your gaze above and makes you realize that life isn’t all about you. You’re a pawn in God’s plan and you’ll feel blessed when you recognize that He chooses to use you in order to help and love people that come in and out of your life. This too, will happen a lot. People will come and people will go. Some will stay shorter than you hope and some will stay longer than you desire. But regardless, they are there for a reason. Sometimes to help you grow and sometimes to help them.
Basketball will not be your identity forever. It will open many doors for you, take you various places and bring countless amazing people into your life, but it is just something you do, not who you are. When you figure that out, it will free you from a lot of pressure, give you the freedom to compete and enjoy it for what it is… a sport, not an identity. Allow it to be something God uses you with to reach others and love them the way He calls you to. Take advantage of being in a college environment and explore different things that interest you, not just things in which you know you excel. Waking up at noon can be wonderful and needed every once in a while but don’t sleep your life away. Get up and do something worth while; go have breakfast with someone you enjoy, work out, have a quiet time, read a book, surprise someone, and help someone out who needs a hand.
Travel as much as you can and spend time with your family… They may get on your nerves sometimes but they love you and will encourage and support you through everything that comes your way. And they are a lot more fun than you know right now. There will come a time when you believe your parents to be some of the funniest people you know (yes, I’m serious). Keep a journal. It will help you remember things that happen in your life and possibly keep you from repeating the same mistakes over and over. Plus it’s fun to look back on and see how you’ve grown and or changed. You’ll have a heart for the underdog, almost to a fault. You are NOT superwoman and cannot save everyone. Some people don’t want to be saved from themselves or the situation they’re in. Be aware of that and let go if God tells you to. After all, He created them and He knows what they need more than you do.
You will have your heart broken at some point. Most likely more than once. And you’ll do your own breaking of hearts in the process. Allow yourself to feel the pain, heartache and brokenness. You will eventually love again but will be healthier if you give yourself the time to heal. And surprisingly, the cliché “Time heals all wounds,” is unquestionably true for most matters of the heart. But that’s assuming you are putting the heartache and disappointment in God’s hands instead of ignoring it and filling that hurt with other things (hint, you will undoubtedly do this…so let yourself feel AND heal!) Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to say something you feel even if you think the person may not take it well. You are not responsible for their reaction to what you say. In the midst of the waiting for Mr. Right there will be days that you wonder if your standards are too high. They are not. Do not settle or compromise for anything less than what God has placed in your heart. He will come through, He always does. This man will be worth waiting for. So have faith and be patient. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.
When you sit down and think about what to write to your younger self, you will look back on the past 10 years and panic for a split second. You’ll think to yourself that you made too many mistakes, wasted too much time and weren’t productive enough. Not true. Yes you will have made your fair share of mistakes. So what? Learn from them. Stop being so hard on yourself. Have you heard the saying “Life’s a journey, not a destination?” That’s another line that has become famous because of its validity. Being the impatient person that I know you (still haven’t grown out of that) are, I’m going to tell you to stop being in such a hurry to get through life. It’s not going anywhere. Be a good steward of the things God gives you and enjoy every bit of the blessings He provides. The people, the special moments, the seasons of life that you walk through… Enjoy the journey. When life gets hard and seems like too much to handle, remember what your Father said, “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world!” So take pleasure in the good times and allow yourself to grow in the hard times. Most of all, learn how to be thankful in every circumstance, it will change your outlook on life and your way of living. Your life is not your own. You were bought at a costly price. So live your life yielded and as a sacrifice to the One who gave His Son so that you could live.
I’ve enjoyed writing to you, Younger Self. It has given me a chance to look back, reflect on my life and do some self-evaluation. But maybe this letter serves more as a reminder to my 29 year old self that life is almost never what you expect it to be and it stops for no one. There will be joy and pain but none of it has to be in vain. Ultimately, you are part of a Greater plan. And that plan is worth living and dying for… Live the rest of your life here on Earth so that you can hear “Well done,” and smile when it’s over.
Enjoy the journey,
Your 29 Year Old Self