I was listening to the radio this morning (shoutout to Wally and the WAYFM crew) and they were discussing what advice they would give to their younger selves. The task was to write a letter, using only 5 words, to the younger you based on what you know now.
It got me thinking...
Usually when you ask children, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" their responses are filled with some lofty career goals. They usually aspire to be a fireman, doctor, lawyer, ballerina, or even president of the United States.
While plotting out your career from birth is admirable, realistically being a particular "thing" or living out a certain profession isn't what is going to bring fulfillment. If we try to build a life of stability on something that is dispensable, we will quickly realize that the moment that "thing" starts to fade, we will also.
I think we should alter the question a little, or at least include an addendum. The truth is you can be a fireman and unhappy. You can be a doctor without contentment. You could be the President and have no joy. Instead of focusing on the world's standard of popular aspirations, we should take strides towards building a godly character.
In 1 Timothy 4:7 Paul admonishes to "exercise yourself toward godliness."
It won't happen overnight and it certainly won't be easy, but it is necessary. Character is built through our faith in Jesus Christ. Children of God have to find a way to make sure the fruit of the Spirit is always exhibited in their lives regardless of their profession and accolades, or the letters behind their names.
So I would start asking another question:
"What qualities do you want to possess when you grow up?"
I suspect the answers wouldn't come as easy, or roll off the tongue as fast. But I would hope after careful deliberation we would respond with things like "I want to be filled with joy when faced with adversity" or "I want the peace of God to rule in the midst of chaos" or "I want to be willing to let the Spirit of God govern my life." Those foundational concepts are what truly bring stability to our lives. Anything else is built in vain (see: Psalm 127:1).
As I listened to the discussion on the radio I began to consider what advice I would tell my younger self in five words. Would I tell her to "develop a habit of reading"? Or to pay attention because "work in undergrad actually matters." Or "girl, choose your friends wisely." Or "be confident in your God." Or "be purposeful in your endeavors." Or "you're stronger than you think."
Clearly it was difficult to narrow it down to one phrase. Having experienced so much I can reflect on how I have grown and what nuggets of wisdom I have gained along the way. But I decided that I would tell my younger self:
You're going to be okay.
Simple, yet speaks volumes to me. If I had kept that simple phrase in mind ten years ago or even last year, I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary worry. In the midst of my moments of heartache, betrayal, and failures, as well as my triumphs, successes, and moments of rejoicing, it is critical that I remember that the God I committed my life to is faithful when it comes to keeping His promises.
And even when we feel like we are at our breaking point, the only thing that lasts forever is His love for us; not our problem. Our temporary moments of discomfort are working to transform us into the image of Christ; that's the ultimate #lifegoal. Our only response should be to trust that God's plan is always perfect and we can be confident that we are going to be okay.
In 5 words, what would you tell your younger self? I'd love to hear. Comment on our FB page or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org