What was I thinking?!?!
No…no…please tell me I didn’t actually say that….
Wow I was so immature. …
Ugh why did I do that??? …
That is so embarrassing!
This is humiliating, is this actually me that wrote this?!
(Me, as I continue to read through old journals):
What if someone else were to read these! Oh no!
*makes giant bonfire*
*dumps in journals*
Okay well maybe I didn’t actually burn them 😂. But it is true that looking back on old journal entries can be a mortifying event. If only I could travel back in time and warn myself! I need to prevent these disastrous memories!
It’s a good thing that we don’t start out in life as adults, because I think most of us can say that we spent a lot of years bumbling around, trying to figure the entire system out. From the first time you smacked into a wall as a toddler, to yesterday when you spilled your coffee all over after refusing to put down one of the 21 items you’re holding, you find yourself making mistakes and slowly learning how to survive.
So, since I am older now, and so much more rational and discreet (I say that without any sarcasm of course 😋), I present to you 10 things I wish I could tell my past self.
(1) Straighten out your priorities.
Please, younger me: going to [insert event] isn’t nearly as important as being respectful of your parents’ decision. Your family should be the #1 people in your life, not your friends, believe it or not.
Put the things in your life into perspective. Remember that God is at the top, and YOU are at the bottom of the list. Just getting those priorities straightened out will keep you from taking a lot of bad steps along the way.
(2) Listen to counsel.
Don’t take that Sunday school class and those long sermons that you can barely sit through for granted. Don’t get angry when an adult in your life says something to you. Don’t brush your parents’ words aside. Soak it all in and try to follow it. Most of all, embrace the counsel found in the word of God.
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
(3) Don’t listen to your flesh, it wants to do the exact opposite of what God tells you to do.
- Galatians 5:16-17: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
- Romans 6:12-13: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
(4) Establish good relationships.
I am sorry to admit, I fought a lot with my brothers, especially in my early teen years. It left a lot of scars on our relationships. The fights we had back then were not only foolish but left their mark. If there is one thing I really wish I could do over again, it is this. I wish I would have tried harder to keep from fighting with them when they made me mad.
Not only would I advise myself to behave better toward my brothers, but I also wish I had invested more time into relationships with friends & cousins, etc. I didn’t start realizing until later how important that could be.
(5) Live like today is the last day of your life.
You don’t know. Maybe it is. Do you want to have spent your last day lounging in front of the TV or doing things that are worthwhile? I wish I would call to mind more often that I am to be watching for the return of my King & Savior. I act too much like I’m guaranteed tomorrow when my life is really just a vapour that vanishes (James 4:14).
(6) Pray more often.
Like I said in this post, I had a hard time concentrating when I’d try to pray. Sadly, that meant it often wouldn’t happen.
Since I have gotten older, it’s more difficult for me to form a steady prayer life. My prayers are more spontaneous than organized, which means that I forget to pray about certain things (although other things are prayed for multiple times a day). If, when I was younger, I had made a better habit of it, my prayer life might not have been such a jumble today. It’s a lot harder to form healthy habits now (more about that in #8).
(7) Memorize more scripture
We all have found that as we grow older it gets harder to remember things. Bible memory isn’t as second-nature as it once was to me. I’ve noticed that while I remember passages I memorized as a kid perfectly, I’m constantly having to re-memorize scriptures from the past year or two. It doesn’t feel as cemented in. I certainly would have found it easier at 12 or 13!
(8) When you are younger, it’s easier to mold yourself.
We are explorers, trouping through the jungle of life. Learning to survive. We are full of energy and optimism. And because we are still figuring it all out, we’re still flexible. We are, to an extent, creating our own selves. Tweaking and molding ourselves. Determining what kind of person we are going to be.
If I had fully known this, I [hope I] would have more carefully established myself in the straight and narrow way. More painstakingly corrected my character. More wholly leaned on God and put my entire faith in Him.
(9) Look for more ways to minister
I wish I’d started younger to reach out.
To talk to the girl that gets ignored.
To say hi to the elderly at church.
To help clean up after a potluck.
I wish that I had spent more time serving others rather than myself.
I wish I’d done my chores more cheerfully.
I wish I’d stood for my faith & never backed down.
This is advice to my current self as well: be a servant.
25. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(10) Don’t waste your time wanting to grow up.
Becoming an adult isn’t all sunshine & rainbows. We imagine it as freedom and bliss, but it contains steep rocky paths and sweat and pain and loneliness and disappointment. The same stuff as you have as a kid, but magnified. Think you’ll have time to do all the stuff you imagined yourself doing? Probably not. So, just…listen…
ENJOY BEING YOUNG. You’re not ever gonna get that back.
In conclusion: even though I wrote this as advice for my past self, I have found that it is no less relevant to my current self. No one’s past is flawless, but we have good news because it’s never too late. You may be 10, you may be 80, but you can still work on yourself. I turned 18 yesterday, and I know I often find myself thinking I will “never be good” in some specific area, or “never find victory” over some sin, but praise God “…which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Friend, never give up.
P.S. This is my 50th post! Yay!