Dear 16-year-old Me,

“God is watching out for you …

I know things aren’t really going the way you’d like them to, but God has a (better) plan for you and He cares for you, every little tiny detail, not just the big things. He’ll provide what your heart desires, you just have to be patient.

In the meantime, talk to your mom. She understands more than you think. And talk to your sister, she does, too. Talk to your friends. Talk to anyone! Tell others what you REALLY think and what you feel. Your opinion and your feelings matter. And sharing will deepen the connection with friends and family, which is what you really desire. Even if your thoughts are silly or “wrong” or illogical or immature. Or make you vulnerable. Having feelings you know aren’t right doesn’t make you a bad person, just human. It’s okay, you’ll learn and grow from it. Keeping everything to yourself will allow doubt and negativity to fester. And the sooner you learn to process and share your feelings, the easier it will be to avoid some mistakes when you are older.

I know you think it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and prove it. But you aren’t a fool. You aren’t perfect! Nobody is. You don’t have to be perfect for people to like you. And once people know you, they will know you aren’t perfect, but they will like you anyway even more! You love to make people laugh and eventually will learn it doesn’t mean they are making fun of you (never mind the time your friend laughed at your shoes, you liked them so who cares what he thinks). You’ll discover how much people actually embrace quirks and think perfection is boring! Embrace who you are, and if you don’t know, start the process of figuring it out. You are so much more than just a “pretty face” or a “silly girl.” You don’t have to take calculus or physics to prove you are smart! You are just going to get frustrated. Math is not your thing, but that’s okay, you’ll marry a guy who can do that for you. It’s okay to let others do things for you. Of course, you’ll learn that when you are struggling in computer science classes in college, and that’s not quite what I’m talking about. But you’ll get it. Let people see your weaknesses so they can support you. Be vulnerable. And not knowing something doesn’t make you stupid, so admit you don’t know everything and ask lots of questions.

It’s okay to be shy, but it’s not okay to be impolite. Think about how you come across to other people when you think they don’t like you, when in fact they think you don’t like them. If you didn’t worry so much about what other people thought, you would see that everyone was worried about themselves, too. There are so many people who are lonely and could use a friend. Smile. Say hi. You won’t be shunned for being nice. I know it would devastate you to find out people thought you were stuck up. People like you more than you think. That college boy doesn’t ride his bike to your house before you leave for prom because he wants the exercise …

You are creative! Maybe not in the way you usually think about it. Use your creativity to express yourself, not as a means to finding perfection. And you love to run. It’s a part of who you are so don’t stop because your friends don’t understand it. Find some friends who can relate to that part of you after high school. But don’t let it consume you either. I don’t want you to miss out on other good things God has for you. You are so passionate, if you could just find what you want to pour your energy into.

You are loved! Not because you are beautiful (though you are. seriously. puh-leaze you are NOT fat.), not because you are creative (though you are), not because you are fast (though you are) or smart (you are!) or because you TRY SO HARD (even though you do). You are loved because GOD loves you, you are His precious daughter. There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less! Soak in that grace and then pass it on to others.

–38-year-old you

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2 thoughts on “Dear 16-year-old Me,

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