Dear Twenty-One Year Old Self,
Hey girl! How are you? I’m well. It’s a gorgeous Cleveland day with promises of fruitfulness. You know this past weekend I was thinking about you. I recently celebrated Thirty-six years of life and I had these moments of pause. Pausing to reflect on the goodness and the grace that has been lavished upon me by God. He is a wonder!
As I reflected this weekend I thought to myself how grateful I am, that at this juncture in life, I live with no regrets. So, Sweet 21, here are a few things I say to you now with wisdom and honesty:
One, don’t believe what’s said of you, be who God made you to be. If I were 21-years old today I would feel a burden or an inward tug to fall into two lifestyle patterns of thinking. The lifestyle pattern of trying to be someone else or not knowing who I truly am. I read ALOT of research and articles around millennials and the writers love to categorize. It's easy and convenient to place one into a box. While there are facts to support some of their research, there are unknown variables that shape those facts. I commend to you my love, that The Lord is the one who made you, knit you and knows his sovereign plan for you. So, when you think EVERY shot you take on social media has to be “perfect’ or “100”, know it’s staged. And, the best way to live, is to live in a way that points others to the Creator and not creation.( Genesis 1:26-27; Hebrews 13:20-21;1 Peter 2:15)
Two, embrace failure. 21, I know it was hard having a baby at 15 years old, but God’s grace was covering us. How you ask? It was covering us into a closer relationship with Him. You see, successes are great. But, failures produce spiritual growth; endurance. If we NEVER fail, whatever would we learn? That makes us unteachable, and without a need for Christ. The goal is not failure, but grace, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Christ, coming fully whole and complete, taking on human flesh, being tempted in every way, and yet saying “No” to self and “Yes” to God. He said Yes, to loving us to the point of death to know His immeasurable love for us. This love so great that when we fail, because we will, we don’t see it as an apathetic pass to keep failing. No, we see it as an unrelenting invitation to not lean on ourselves, but to put our trust and hope in Him. And in that very hope, see His strength to equip us in ways we could not imagine. You stand in a position of winner ALWAYS, because of the cross. Live like it. (James 1:2-4; Philipians 2:1-10; Proverbs 3:5-6)
Finally, don’t waste your life. I remember you well, 21. I thought that I knew EXACTLY what God called me to do with my life. Unknown to me, I had no clue! LOL! If you would have told me that I would have used my degree in Education so many different ways (i.e. teacher, non- profit educator, homeschooling, bible teacher/speaker/equipper) I don’t think I would believe you at all! Yet, I have found that it was a set up by God himself. I believe at 21 years of age, the most valuable thing you can do is not chase the futile things that culture values. The most valuable thing you can do is intentionally live daily and not waste your life. Don’t waste it coveting others. Don’t waste it chasing money. Don’t waste it chasing influence. Don’t waste it chasing relationships. Get up every morning, pray for direction, ask God to speak through His very word and trust him with every step. What’s in your hand today, use it. Where are your feet suppose to go today, go there. What’s on your calendar today, finish well. Use what you have, be faithful with what you have, and don’t waste your life. In that, God will be faithful to complete his work in you. (Philipians 1:3-6; Colossians 3: 17, 23-24)
With All My Love 21