For the days leading up to my birthday, I wanted to do something different. Three letters. Letters addressed to myself at different points in my life. When life was different.
Today is letter two of three.
Dear Fourteen Year Old Self:
I debated if I should write to you at thirteen or fourteen but decided fourteen was a bigger year in life. At thirteen you became an official teenager. At fourteen your life changed. You entered high school. You’re struggling with accepting yourself. You’re trying to find friends who would always be there for you. You’re pushing yourself. You’re searching for God.
You’re going to spend the majority of the year searching for God. I know you recently started going to church and it suddenly feels like home. However, you are very stubborn. You want to accept Jesus but you also know that everyone around you wants you to accept Jesus. I see the struggle in your eyes. You’re questioning if you really believe that Jesus died for you or if you think that believing it will make everyone leave you alone. You’re trying to figure out who you are and make your way through life. It’s okay. Take all the time you need.
Remember He is always there for you. God is always there for you. He will never leave you or abandon you. He walks with you throughout each and every day. You know He is there. Close your eyes and I know you can feel His presence. Start each morning by thanking God for the new day. Have an endless conversation with Him throughout the day. End each day by thanking Him. He will never leave you, I promise.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re stubborn and you’re slowly developing an independent nature. Don’t be afraid to speak up. When you can’t see the board in class, tell someone. Don’t just pretend you don’t know the answer because you can’t see the board. Ask for help when you don’t understand science. Ask your teachers to push you harder. Ask God to guide you.
Hello high school years. All of a sudden everything feels like a competition. If you tryout for a sport, will you make the team? Can you get the highest grade in class? Should you sing for all four years simply to be able to say you did? Stretch your wings and try something new. Join a club. Volunteer more. Keep discovering who you are.
Don’t quit basketball or volleyball. Making teams isn’t about how much money a family has – it’s about skill. Keep practicing and you’ll get there. Don’t let those words echo in your head. There is more to life than money.
Run more. You’ll thank yourself in the long haul. Go for a run everyday and only have one goal in mind – to be better than you were the day before. I know it’s hard and I know it’s tiring, but you’re going to learn to love it. Getting to focus on something else and letting your mind rest is the one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself. I know it’s hard to believe, but one day you’re going to turn to running and exercise instead of chocolate when you’re stressed.
Don’t spend so much time hating your body. I know you’re always comparing yourself to the other girls. Stop! You are a wonderful person and have so much to offer in life. Please stop hating your body so much. Your body protects you and keeps you safe. God made you perfectly. Truthfully, it’s your personality that everyone falls in love with and then there are those days when they’ll look at you and tell you that you’re beautiful. You’ll believe them and doubt them at the same time. Even when your daddy tells you, you will find yourself faced with these same thoughts. You are perfect just the way you are, so please stop hating your body.
Take care of yourself. Listen to what your body needs and what it’s trying to tell you. Eat healthy and try new foods. You never know what you’re going to like until you try it. Get plenty of sleep but also take time to explore – even if it’s just a new city. The world is a huge place – you’re going to want to take a minute to let it all sink in.
You’re beautiful. You’re wonderful. You’re an incredible person. Beauty isn’t only on the outside, but it’s on the inside. I know there’s things about your body that bother you, but you’re going to grow to love them. Sometimes you’re going to have days when you look like a mess, but you’re going to look like a cute mess. You have so much to offer the world – just remember to love yourself too.
You’re strong and stubborn. You’ve been that way since you were a child and you will continue to be that way well into adulthood. You know what you want and although you stumble along the way, you’ll get there. It make take a decade, but you’ll get there. Remember to take the time to really enjoy what the world has to offer. Although you’re stubborn, your strength helps to balance it. You are the perfect combination of strong and stubborn.
Once again I find myself wondering if I should warn you about the things to come. Should I tell you about all your high school struggles? Should I tell you what going to happen to your daddy? Should I tell you to stop comparing yourself to other people?
I can’t. I want to but I can’t tell you. All these things helped to shape you into the person that you’re becoming. The person that God wants you to become. If I warn you about the future, it might change the outcome. I don’t want to change the outcome, I just want to take your teenage struggles away. But you’re going to survive. You’re strong and stubborn and your spirit will never break.
Your Twenty-Five Year Old Self