It’s me, Emily – your future self. I’m 25 now and while I wouldn’t say I’m the wisest woman on the planet, I have learned a thing or two about how to navigate the teens and early 20’s.
I want to tell you so much, but I also know that the lessons you learn while living it out are going to change your life. The experiences you will have throughout the next several years will shape you into the young woman you were created to be. You’ll be the happiest and most at peace you’ve ever been, but you’ll also have times where you’re more depressed than you could have ever imagined. I know it seems cliché to tell you that everything will be okay, but it really will be. That’s because you are deeply loved.
Let me tell you more…
Even though you grew up going to church, that doesn’t automatically make you a Christian.
This will be news to you, but when you hear the truth of the Gospel, it will make sense right away. Something I want you to know is that your sin and brokenness is just as bad as everyone else’s. Even though you sometimes think you are invincible, you desperately need Jesus. We all do.
Take some time to read the Bible – specifically the Gospel of John. I know you thought you had to start reading in Genesis, but it’s okay that you didn’t get very far. Skip ahead to the New Testament and read there. See what God shows you as you pray and seek Him for answers about faith.
You are enough.
Working hard and striving are two ways you have sought acceptance. You have always felt the need to prove yourself. You don’t have to do it anymore. You are beautiful. You are adored. There is no one in this world who is exactly like you.
I still have to preach this to myself on a regular basis, but I’m learning. I hope you start to recognize this, too, because it will save you a lot of worry and tears.
Slow down with the planning.
Right now you can’t wait to get off to college, which will lead to your future career. You are dying to get married and have babies. You’ve written timelines in your journal and thought of 10,000 different scenarios for everything from baby names to house floor plans to the schedule you’ll keep when you have a career and kids. I get it. It’s fun to dream. You might still catch me in dream phase once in a while, but I’ve learned that overplanning can set you up for disappointment. By slowing down and enjoying where you’re at without planning the next five steps into the future, you can savor the precious moments of your life!
It’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do with your life.
You’re going off to college with a plan in mind. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your plan will change. I want to tell you this because it’s important for you to be okay with it. God has bigger plans for your life than you ever imagined and He will lead you to the right major and job opportunities.
When I first changed my major, I struggled with feeling like a failure for giving up on my original dream. Now, I know it was the right decision. So, please remember that it’s okay to change your mind.
You are loved.
Once you understand this, everything will change. You’ve spent your teen years chasing love and being disappointed when you didn’t find it. When you didn’t get asked to prom or didn’t have a boyfriend, you felt undesired and unloved. I know that a guy’s affection is important to you, but it isn’t everything. The time will come when you’ll meet the right guy and he’ll be just what you need. The wait isn’t easy, though. I understand!
It’s important for you to realize that you already have someone who knows and loves you perfectly: God.
You can take your desires and requests to Him. Once you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will have the Holy Spirit, so God will be with you at all times. All of this might sound weird to you right now, but God really will meet your needs by providing the right peace and comfort in any situation. He created love and desires to show you how much he loves you.
I think I’ll leave you with these 5 main lessons because you have so much life to experience over the next several years. You don’t want to miss it!
Oh, and I know you’re wondering about this…the answer is no, I’m not married quite yet, but I do have a pretty great boyfriend!