1. No matter how cushy it sounds- when people tell you to “just be yourself”- listen to them. You don’t realize how much time you’re going to waste trying to look like someone else, act like someone else, and love like someone else. You are a radical example of how creative God is- don’t try to cover that up. The world needs you- if it didn’t, you wouldn’t have been created.
2. Change is a good thing. In the next few years, you’re going to change pretty much everything that you know about yourself right now. I know you, and you’re going to resist change, but please, stop being so stubborn, and embrace it. When you don’t know what decision to make, trust your instincts.
3. Your prayers will change the world. The prayers you’re praying right now at 16 don’t sound too much different then the ones at 22. Some of them I’ve seen answered yes, and others, praise Jesus, have been a loud no. Be persistent. He hears each one, and He loves the sound of your voice. Keep talking to Him.
4. No matter what anyone tells you, you’re beautiful. This one’s a big one- you’re still working on it today. And you’re mostly fighting the whispers of children from years ago- so let them go. If I need to say this one to you a million times, I will. “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” S.O.S. 4.7 Scripture cannot lie. Now work on believing this one.
5. Don’t let money hinder you. In about 6 months, you’re going to go to Africa for free. Not because you’re lazy and didn’t work for it. Not because you forced everyone else to pay for it. Because your Father is known to provide. He’s going to ask you to do some pretty big things- and a few you’ll pass up because “you can’t afford it”. Hello. Your Father owns the world. I’m pretty sure you can afford to do something He’s asked you to. Don’t be so stubborn.
6. Read the Word. The most repeated phrase in your vocabulary will be “I wish I knew the Bible better.” So- read it. Study it. Let it speak to you. Learn with others, let God speak through them. You have one of the most powerful, inspirational, beautiful books in your possession- do something good with it. Oh and please, please, please- remember context. That will save you from some seriously embarrassing argument failures.
7. Joy comes from true pain. I hate to tell you this- but you’re not an exception to the rule- bad things will happen to you, and yes, even all at once. But I am SO thankful for what you will learn from it all. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned, either. Some of the best friendships you have today started by meeting someone in their pain and just loving them. You have been given a heart that feels- and it feels everything. Use that as a good thing. Use it to benefit others.
8. Love. Love- love- love. This one is going to blow your mind, are you ready for it? When Jesus said that loving God and loving others are the top 2 commands- there was a fantastic reason for it. Get ready- love-changes-everything. You can see it in the smile of a girl that just found her man, in the urgent embrace of long lost friends, the eyes of a child who feels seen for the first time, and the tears rolling down the faces of people saying goodbye here on earth. Love will change the world. And the best part is- when you give it away, it always comes back a million times bigger and stronger. It’s really one of the only gifts that keeps on giving.
9. Even adults call each other names- be unoffendable. You’ll hear it all, plus some. Just let it go. But unlike the names you got when you were 7 that attacked your body, these words pierce deeper and attack your character, something you’ve tried so hard to preserve. Do two things. First- pray for their hearts. Second- remind yourself who you are by reading about it in His Word. ( See point 6.)
10. Waiting is worth it. You can apply this statement to many areas of your life. Wait to let a man pursue you. Wait to go to school. Wait on God to give you another step. Just wait. “For those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will walk and not grow weary, they will run and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
With Strength that is not your own, Sam