20 things I wish I could tell the 20 year old me

Oh if I could sit down with the 20 year old me.  With such love and tenderness I see her now so much more clearly.  Terrified to be bold and wanting so desperately to belong.  She was confident but unsure, pretty but insecure, bold but petrified to be different.
Big dreams paralyzed by insecurity and long eyelashes I desperately wish I could somehow get back.

20 things I would say to my 20 year old self

Dear 20 something me,

Let me buy you a coffee, snuggle into a corner booth at the coffee shop, look into your true self and tell you what I have learned the hard way. I know you think you know better.  I know you think you are the only person who has ever had your struggles but, in truth, everyone my age wishes they knew then what they know now.  You don’t have to make the same mistakes. You just have to listen to those who have gone before you.  So sip up on that coffee, and let’s dive in…

  1. Stop trying so hard! Sheesh, I am exhausted remembering how hard you worked to make everyone love you.  It’s an impossible task!   The people that do love you know the real you.  And the real you isn’t so bad. 
  2. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and be nothing.  But dear young friend….BE SOMETHING.
  3.  Being kind will get you a lot further in life than being right.
  4. Wear Sunscreen for the love!
  5. You can’t change others, you can only change yourself.
  6. When you have a job, a family, a mortgage and volunteer organizations you will find it adorable you ever said you were busy. Believe it or not you have your most free time NOW. Use it for something that will last longer than the end of the greatest Netflix series.
  7. If you can’t find Jesus in the sanctuary look for him in the lives of the broken. It will change your life and you will meet Jesus there, guaranteed.
  8. There are so many little things that worry you.  Think BIG picture as much as possible. Will what is stressing you even matter 5 years from now? Enjoy the current moment and don’t let worry steal it away.
  9. Fredrick Buechner  said, “The place God calls you is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Start diving into your passion now! Don’t wait for the heavens to part for God to reveal “YOUR CALLING” Many of us just need to stop waiting and start looking where God is already at work and join in.
  10. John D. Rockefeller said, “I Never Would Have Been Able To Tithe The First Million Dollars I Ever Made If I Had Not Tithed My First Salary, Which Was $1.50 Per Week.” Never think you have too little to contribute to the kingdom.
  11. Worry less about finding the right guy and focus more on becoming the right girl.  
  12. With your time and your money, invest in stuff that LASTS. Again think long term…do you see a theme here?
  13. Rollercoasters that used to give you thrills winding upside down with your hands up the whole way will now make you want to lose your lunch by simply looking at them.  So have fun on them now is all I’m saying.
  14. One of the biggest factors determining your future is who you hang out with.  Make sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people. Friends by definition should inspire you, challenge you, and call you to be the best version of yourself.
  15. “Everyone else is doing it” is the best reason I have ever heard NOT to do something.  The majority of americans are in debt, overweight, overstressed, on too many medications, and NOT living happily every after. Do you really want to be like everyone else? Moreover, define your “everyone” who is your friend group?  If your “everyone” is making decisions you said you would never do before you met them…you may want to re-think who is in your tribe.
  16. You won’t understand why your parents worry so much until you have your own kids.  You’ll one day find out what’s like to have you heart living outside of your body with little feet and little hands.  Your parents may not always get it right but they love you with fierce intensity, you should probably listen to them more.
  17. Seek people that won’t always agree with you but will tell you what you need to hear.
  18. What you are doing today will one day affect your future. When you’re 20 you never stopped to think about that.  But there is no erase button in life. This is especially true in sexual relationships.  There is more to sex than just physical.  There are consequences to sex outside of marriage, there just is.  It’s not a matter of opinion it’s a matter of design.
  19. Who you marry is probably one of the biggest decisions you ever make. It is a covenant, it is forever, and it involves two selfish humans destined to make lots of mess and hurt each other some along the way.  Marriage is not always easy.  But I can not even comprehend a marriage to an unbeliever.  May a man who is seeking Jesus be your NUMBER ONE quality in a future spouse. Everything else if trivial (but you should make sure he has good taste in music too…I mean let’s be real)
  20. If you ever ever ever ever date another guy who says he is a Christian but lives no different than any other guy.  I will personally grab you both up by the ears and lecture you for hours on end about how relationships are designed to model Christ’s love for us on earth.  Is he respecting your body, your heart, and your beauty as Christ loved the church?  Are YOU guarding his eyes by what you wear and how you date?  Both of you are someone’s future spouse.  Are you preparing him, is he preparing you to be a good lifelong spouse or are you in the midst of creating baggage you will have to explain one day.  You are daughter of a KING and if you are not being treated like one OR ACTING like one then you have no business dating anyway.  Two halves make broken disastrous relationships, two whole and complete lovers of Jesus make beautiful loving forever relationships. Get whole before you date.  Wouldn’t you want your future spouse to do the same?

Sweet dear 20 somethings.  What I see in front of me is a life that is valuable and worth more than you can possibly know today. I hope to save you a lot of time, pain and regret, if you listen to what I wish I’d heard before.

You are precious! You have the world at your feet. Please be brave, surround yourself with the right people, and mostly love Jesus.  Truly love and trust him with your everything. The rest will fall into place.

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