One of my favorite writers Emily at Chatting at the Sky has released her newest book “Graceful” for teenage girls. If you have teenagers or minister to them, this is a must read. Her real and authentic spirit captures hearts. In keeping with her new release she has asked that we write a letter to our teenage self.
While I’ve pondered over this for awhile, I’m not sure if this makes me laugh hysterically or cry good and bad tears. Either way, I’ve appreciated the challenge. What would you say to your then teenage self? I’d love to hear.
Dear 17-year-old me,
I wish I could walk beside you and cheer you on. I would help you be brave and courageous. There’s no need for all that wishing, waiting, and hoping you do. Step out and be yourself.
Don’t worry what others will think, because although you promise that you’ll always keep in touch after graduation day, you won’t. They will soon be gone and you’ll be left wondering who you are.
Your looks. Well, it’s SO you — crazy curly hair and all! You don’t know it yet but Barbara Striesand will soon release a movie that will make crazy curly hair — you guessed — in style! And those legs that you keeping thinking are short and fat, well years down the road you’ll look back and see they look more like bird legs. So, stand up tall and lift your head high. Quit being critical of yourself.
BTW – I know you love your lifeguarding job. But, could you quit putting “baby oil” on yourself which burns you. Soon there will be the awareness of skin cancer. As soon as you can get you some SPF girl! You’ll always love the water and sun, but get some sense. And those tan-lines, well not-so-cute . . . just sayin’!
All those big fat red-tip pen marks that have plagued your English papers, wellllllll, you might want to pay a little more attention to what they are for and how you can improve your writing. I don’t want to freak you out, but you will write for the whole world to see one day. There’s this futuristic thing coming called the “world wide web” and you will be blown away. Trust me!
And that microwave — it’s nothing compared to the technology coming!
I want you to quit being afraid to speak out. The F’s you’d rather take than standing in front of a class, well get over that. Quit ducking when the teacher asks questions. Raise your hand and act like what you have to say is important. Challenge yourself now to step out of your comfort zone. You might as well begin this challenge now, because believe it or not — God is going to call you to speak and write. Seriously!! He’s got some kind of a crazy plan coming.
You can pick yourself up off the floor now! I kind of debated whether to tell you this or not, because I knew you’d FREAK OUT! Trust in the fact that God will prepare you and lead the way, but you will need to be brave and step out. Start practicing now!
I know you want to be a veterinarian and I’m proud of that goal. But it’s kind of complicated. That boy you just met, well he’s going to join the military. Yep – you’ll be an Army Officer Wive. You’ll go to Germany where there will be no vet school – in English anyway. You’re going to feel lost. You’re going to miss all those animals you have raised for years, especially your sweet trusted horse Sandy. But trust God. He’s got a far better plan. Even in the confusion He’s leading you.
While you fret over the fact that you always come in second or as runner-up, don’t let that bother you. You see it will take you years to learn this, but life is really about putting others first anyways. God is just preparing you to play second-fiddle. He is teaching you that others are always more important than yourself. I know — it’s a hard lesson because it would have been fun to be the Homecoming Queen instead of just being on The Court.
You are involved in so much. Keep at it, because you are learning much about not quitting and leadership. These lessons will be most valuable the rest of your life. I know you’re there just for the friends (yeh, we both know you really don’t like school), but learn leadership. You are going to need it!
Continue to learn about photography. You’ve learned much in newspaper and journalism. But you’ll have opportunity to own your own business one day (I know, another scary thought), and all your creative communication skills will be your future. You’ll love the journey, once you get over being afraid.
All those kids and students that tug at your heart because others judge or make fun of them. Well, keep sticking up for them and befriending them. You don’t understand why your heart is so tender, but it is a gift. God will use that gift later in life to reach people you are afraid of at 17. Keep sticking up for others!
Stop and cherish moments. Seriously, quit wanting to rush off to the next thing. Each day will rush by fast enough. Enjoy the moments to listen to records with friends (oh, there’s some cool stuff coming for music — you’re going to love it!), run around in jeans and socks, sit on the front porch stairs, lie on the grass, star at the moon and enjoy the beauty of the ranch. And while it’s fun to wish on stars and pick flowers for “he loves me, he loves me not”, I so hope you know there is nothing to that.
Roll more houses, spend more time at the dinner table, and cruise around Sonic a few more times. And when your daddy embarrasses you – laugh – you’ll come to treasure those moments. Appreciate all your mom does, because you won’t understand until you’re a mom. Seriously, love your brother and sister more. You’ll be ashamed when you are older at how you treated them. Play the piano more, practice guitar, and enjoy all that music has to offer. It will be a source of inspiration throughout your life.
I’m proud of you. The journey ahead will amaze and confound you, but it’s worth it.
Put on your big girl panties – and live life to the fullest!
your older self
p.s. Forget about the boys. The right one will come along. Leave the boy drama behind and just enjoy every moment you have with your girlfriends. You will not regret this. Trust me!
What would you say to your younger self? I’d love to read about it in the comments.
If you’d like to read more, hop over to Emily’s here.