Dear 15 year old self,
No, your awkwardness is not “just a stage”. It seems you only become more awkward as you get older. I didn’t know it was possible, either. That guy you’re dating, it won’t last… you’ll be heartbroken. But if there’s anything I admire about you, it’s that you’re pretty resilient. And no, you haven’t met “the one” yet. Don’t worry you won’t feel ready anyway.
Know how you want to be a teacher? Yeah, you’re not. No, you concluded that after a year in college, God was calling you to be a nurse instead. I know! I was as shocked as you are. Binge watching TV shows on Netflix will become a thing, be careful because it can take over your life! (no kidding).. You will develop a borderline unhealthy addiction to Starbucks and Chick Fil A. You will find that you actually do enjoy reading and you will find you have a mind for C.S. Lewis.
The hurts you will endure will take their toll but please don’t let them steal your joy. Don’t let arrogance prevent you from learning new things, going new places or meeting new people. You will regret the way that you treat certain people but don’t let those regrets consume you, learn from them and move on. It’s okay to be a little spontaneous, not everything has to be planned perfectly.
Loving Jesus will become so much sweeter as you get older. You will learn things about God and about yourself that will amaze you. You will learn to trust. You will learn to forgive. You will learn to love yourself. You will learn to rely on God because when you rely on yourself, it ends in disappointment. You will learn so much in ten years; but one thing you must always remember is you will never stop learning and growing and building on the foundation that was started 19 years ago, at a Vacation Bible School, in a small church in Odessa, Texas.
15 year old self, you will be okay. In 10 years you will feel the same way that you do now (think “deer in the headlights”). So stop trying so hard to be perfect and live knowing that God makes the imperfections perfect.
your 25 year old self
If I have learned anything about myself in my 24, almost 25, years of life it is that I am an extremely empathetic person. I often feel the emotions, thoughts and attitudes of those around me. God has blessed me with this gift but there are times when it is hard to differentiate the emotions, thoughts and attitudes of others from my own. When this happens I find myself feeling extremely angsty*. Monday was one of those days. My mom, who had come to see me over the weekend, had gone back home. She left me with a pan of chicken enchiladas, because she’s the real MVP. But she also left me to my own devices, and when I say devices I mean thoughts, lots and lots of thoughts. My thoughts led to anxiety. My anxiety came from knowing that come Wednesday morning, while many Americans would be celebrating, there would also be those, for lack of a better term, who would be in mourning. And knowing that there would be division made me feel broken for our country. So while I felt anxious for the better part of Monday, come Tuesday morning I was reminded that God is still in control. He was, is and always will be the ultimate decider of the fate of this great country we call home. Before I went to sleep Tuesday morning, I sat down and read a Psalm and I prayed. I asked God for peace, I asked that no matter His will I would find comfort in knowing that it is HIS will. And let me tell you, I slept better than I have in a long while. I woke up Tuesday afternoon and went to work with my kiddos. Those precious kids who don’t always understand the magnitude of things like elections. Those kids who just want to watch Toy Story and play with puzzles. Those kids who want to forget for a little while that they aren’t feeling good and for some reason they can’t be at home. I could not worry about anything other than being Jesus to my patients because this world is broken and they will learn that sooner than they should have to. So Wednesday morning, when it was decided that Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States of America, as I was busy trying to quietly hang medicines and check vital signs without waking up these sleeping little ones, God placed a verse from Ruth in my mind. “… blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel.” (Ruth 4:14). Donald Trump is not our redeemer; Hilary Clinton is not our redeemer. Our redeemer is not a human man or woman. Jesus is our redeemer. He has redeemed me from things I thought nonredeemable and because of that he has put me in a place to be love to others. He is and always will be the Redeemer to this broken world. And because of that I can be at peace, even when peace is hard find.
*angsty may or may not be an actual word but it is my adjective of the word angst meaning, the feeling of dread, anxiety or anguish
In life there are seasons, seasons where you move and seasons where you wait. Currently, after a huge season of moving, literally and figuratively, I have arrived in my season of waiting. Looking back at the last 6 months of my life, I thought God was preparing me for the move… But He was actually preparing me for the wait. It can be misconceived that the move is more important, to expect the majority of your growth to come from that season. However, the wait has its own importance, and is just as sweet as the move. The wait, the wait is where God lives; the wait will produce just as much growth as the move. The move is not easy by any means. Moving is busy and often extremely hard. The wait, the wait is still. I don’t know about you but I am more comfortable being busy as opposed to being still. Yet, it seems that the majority of life is spent in the peculiar season of waiting. God places you in a season of waiting, preparing your heart and soul for His move. God urges you to move in faith, trusting that His plans are better than your own. After the move, God is still there, in the waiting. He is preparing you for His next move, however long that may be. God is there, no matter your circumstances of waiting and/or moving. God will make Himself known in the move and in the wait.
Taking advantage of the wait:
- Spend time in God’s word and in meditation & prayer.
- Be still. As hard as that may be, God is calling you to rest in Him and His grace.
- Be vocal. Cry out to God! Let Him know when you are frustrated. He is after all, a God of comfort.
- Become broken. God knows your heart; don’t try to hide your brokenness from Him.
- Don’t be afraid to move. When the time comes, God will push you to move. Do it!
Every follower of Jesus is on their own, unique, journey. But we do all have one thing in common; our souls are waiting and anticipating eternity!