If you could go back in time, what would you tell your teenage self? “Keep up the good work?” “Don’t sneak out with Dad’s car to impress your friends?!” “Stay away from the drugs?!” “Don’t date her?!” “Don’t trust him?!”
Most of us could offer our younger selves some words of wisdom. In my case, I would beg young Heather to get a life and leave the boyfriend drama behind. “It’s not worth it, Heather. Live! Live! Live!”
Though I knew I could survive without a boyfriend, my anxious heart did not want to wait. So many times, I jumped head first into a relationship without counting the cost because I was so hungry for a romantic connection.
Years later, I have seen the errors of my ways, and I have learned from my numerous attempts to gain self-worth through one relationship after another. Had my mind not been so consumed with amour, perhaps I could have really lived! If I could talk to my teenage/young adult self now, I would give the following pieces of advice:
- Don’t wait by the phone. If he’s worth your time, he’ll make time for you. Leave your room. Spend some time with your family. If you miss his call, the world will go right on spinning. In fact, he may get the idea that you actually have a life!
- Put your friendships first. Until Mr. Right comes along and proposes to you, your friends are more important than any boyfriend. If your fella wants you to ditch your friends and spend all your time with him, don’t. Your friends will stick around long after he’s gone.
- If you pray about dating him, and you get an uneasy feeling, don’t date him!It’s not worth it. And if your parents don’t trust him, it’s likely because he’s not trustworthy. They know you, love you, and can spot a snake a mile away.
- Stop arguing with God. If His answer is “No, this is not the guy for you,” be thankful that God is still raising up godly men – one of whom you are likely to marry.
- Do something. Live, girl! Be in a play. Take a sewing class. Enjoy family vacations instead of clamoring to get back home to your boyfriend. Go horseback riding. Learn to play an instrument. Sharpen your skills. Embrace your talents. Do something that scares you and conquer it. Don’t look back on your life in ten years and ask, “Why did I waste so much time?”
- Exercise six days a week. You’ll be glad you did!
- Spend time in God’s word every single day. Guys will disappoint you, but God never will. Follow Christ’s example and strive to be more like Him. Always be prepared to tell people why your hope is in Christ (I Peter 3:15).
And there you have it, folks! I’m sure I could offer young Heather more advice, but I’ll stick with the short and sweet version this time. ~smile~
What suggestions would you give your younger self?
Imagine your life ten years from now. What advice do you think the older you would give? “Slow down.” “Get off your phone.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “Clean less, cuddle more.” “Invest while you’re young.” “Prepare for harder times.”
Consider what retrospective advice you might give in ten years. You may find wisdom you didn’t know you had tucked deep down inside.
Last, but not Least
One of the biggest lessons I learned through my teenage and early adult years was this: Use wisdom when sharing your heart. Connection requires transparency and vulnerability, and not everyone is worthy to see and touch your heart.
God has been so faithful to bring the right people to me at the right time – trustworthy people who have allowed me to open up without reservation. Seek Him first and trust Him to do the same for you. ~smile~
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (John 6:33, ESV)
What advice would you give to your younger self? Is there anyone you can mentor who is heading down the same path you once walked?