With my 31st birthday just a few weeks away, I have been reflecting on another year of God’s grace and faithfulness. What an incredible year it has been!
However, more than that, I have come to recognise just how many needless concerns or insecurities I was burdened with throughout my twenties. So much worry and pain over issues that now seem so trivial. If I could go back and tell myself not to carry so much, I would…
Dear Twenty-Something Me,
You are just beginning. You have so much of life ahead of you; so much to look forward to, so much to learn and experience, so many of God’s promises yet to be fulfilled. So don’t take life so seriously. Allow yourself to laugh a little more, dance a little more, to take a few more risks. Don’t be so eager to grow up that you miss out on the season you are currently in.
It is not necessary to have a long-term plan. Plans change, but God remains constant. Just commit everything to Him and enjoy the present; take it all in. Embrace what is happening now. Don’t wish away this current season for what may never come. The future will come in time, you can be sure of that, but you will never get to relive the present. Don’t dream away the weeks, months, years. Resist placing timelines and expectations on God’s promises or, indeed, your own desires. Simply enjoy the now.
And don’t focus so much on marriage and relationships. Believe me, it is not the be-all and end-all. There are so many other experiences in life to be enjoyed and savoured too. Live life; stop fixating on what you don’t have, and start appreciating what you do have.
Fight those thoughts; the ones that plague you in those quiet moments and tell you that you are not good enough or fun enough or pretty enough. Stop expending so much energy and time comparing yourself to others: Just be you. In a world full of wannabe-replicas, God created only one of you. Don’t deprive the world of you.
Remember, nine times out of ten, people are not really thinking what you believe they are thinking about you. Don’t let the lies of the enemy steal your courage or conviction. Step out in faith and allow God’s voice to speak truth into your heart.
Don’t place so much value on what the world values: money, possessions, fashion, a career. Be careful not to allow the voices of the world drown out the voice of the One who matters. Instead, invest in relationships, community, new experiences, and, above all, chasing after God. When you are sold out to Him, He will make a way where there appears to be no way. Live for His approval, not that of men.
Ease up on yourself, ok? Forgive yourself. Jesus died so that you could live in freedom from your sins, so be quick to repent and receive His forgiveness. Learn the lesson and move on. Don’t torment yourself, allowing guilt and shame to remain, when your God and Saviour has already wiped your slate clean.
Stop living life as if everything depends on you, because it doesn’t. Everything depends on God. So don’t worry so much, don’t carry so many burdens, don’t adopt so much fear and responsibility. And pray more. Talking to God about that worry – that problem to solve – is far more effective than carefully deliberating over every possible eventuality. Be quicker to hand it over to Him who is infinitely more equipped to be God than you are.
I know you love God and want to give Him your best, but don’t try so hard to fill the blanks of what He might be saying or doing in your life. He’ll give you the information you need when you need it. You have no reason to strive. Instead of stressing about what those ‘meanwhile’ moments look like, just enjoy them and rest in God’s ways and timing. Don’t take on the burden yourself. God’s will is not a problem to solve; it is a gift to receive at the appointed time.
God holds you securely in His hands so live in the freedom His Son bought for you on the cross. You are going to do great, so stop worrying. Prioritise peace and rest over frantic serving; you can’t earn more of God’s love, just sit at His feet and receive it.
Love, the One You Will Grow To Be