Dear Younger Me,
It’s a bit…early…I suppose you could say, for writing a letter such as this. I mean, present “me” is only 23 but I’ve been thinking about you a bit. There are so many things that I want to say but I can’t seem to find the words…Bear with me?
I can picture you in my head. I see joy in your life; a willful naivety, if you will. In my current state it’s a little off-putting but honestly, there isn’t much I wouldn’t give to gain that back. I don’t want to be doom-n-gloom with you but there are a few “heavy” subject matters I would like to discuss. If you were hoping for a light hearted look into the future, I have to humbly apologize. Maybe, though, you could make a few better decisions with this advice? For the both of us?
There is going to come a time in your life when someone will hurt you. I wish I could tell you that this “someone” was just an anyone but unfortunately, I cannot. In fact, many someones will hurt you and they will turn out to be very dear to you. I wish I could stop this but I cannot. What I can do is let you know that their opinions of you genuinely don’t mean anything. They don’t define you. They don’t attribute value to your life. I feel the hurt deep inside of me and oh, I wish to save you from it. Don’t waste your time boiling over the how’s and the why’s or the what’s of something you may have done wrong. It wasn’t you. It was never you.
I know that may be difficult to read. It certainly is difficult to write. Future you wasted too many days etching out holes inside of his heart for people to fit in. In the long run, some simply don’t want to be a part of you, they only wish to take part of you. Many will say that they love you but few will actually show it. Guard yourself from those people. Certainly, don’t scratch them out of your life but don’t give them your all. Protect yourself. It’s not mean, it’s responsible.
Speaking of being responsible, when you get your first job learn to save money. Don’t blow it all in one go. There will come a day when you’re struggling to make ends meet. There will come a day when you start gaining weight and you don’t have the money to buy new clothes. Rest assured, you’re not poor but you certainly can’t fly off of the handle. Maybe that’s a good thing? Also, don’t be an idiot when you’re tempted to blow $500 on a new girlfriend. Not only will it save your bank account but it will save your father from having to lay the hammer down. Trust me, save your money.
Speaking of girls…
Buddy, I know this is a big part of your heart. I mean, you and I both know the lengths you went to snag a girl’s heart when you were in the 3rd grade. I know part of your dream is to find a wife and have kids. None of that is wrong and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re less of a man for wanting it. However, I’m begging you with all of our heart, don’t make them your everything.
I can’t express to you the deep pain that has emanated from making mistakes in relationships. These girls can’t satisfy your deepest needs. They were never created to do so. Only God can satisfy your soul. Remember that they are humans just like you and they need grace and forgiveness. Be quick to love. Be quick to be selfless. Be quick to forgive. Love them for who they are and not what they can give you. They are valuable and are treasures in the eyes of God. Be quick to point them back to Jesus. Remind them of his love daily. Protect them. Protect yourself. Don’t give too much away too fast. Remember what I said about the people who will hurt you? Mhm. Most of them come from dating. Give respect but make them earn your trust. Vic verse. Keep your hands to yourself. Protect their purity and protect yours. That girl you’re holding hands with is someone’s wife. Put them above yourself and give them the love of Jesus.
If you don’t follow that advice, I can say that you will find yourself in the darkest hole you have ever experienced. Death will seem close. Demons will become your only friend. God will seem so far. Remember that it’s going to be ok. Your family doesn’t hate you. God doesn’t hate you. There are so many people who love you for your heart. Don’t kill yourself. Please. Don’t kill yourself. Don’t give in to the demons. They hate you. Jesus is close. Call out to Him. He loves you more than you can ever know. I know that it’s hard. I know you want to give in. You can’t. You have to fight. You HAVE to fight….It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
In fact, life in and of itself won’t be easy. I can guarantee you, though, it will be worth it. Moving to North Carolina was the best decision we made. You’re going to make so many incredible friends in college. Friends who will encourage you, motivate you, challenge you, and drive you to Christ. They will make you laugh, make you cry, and they will do both of these things with you. Pour into them and love them with all of your heart.
Don’t give up hope. A new day is on the horizon and healing will come to you. Look to Christ and let Him heal your weary heart. Be selfless. Be patient. Be slow to give people all of you. Be quick to point them to Jesus. Don’t pursue so many girls. It’s ok to be single. Invest in the guys around you. Make people laugh. Let people make you laugh. Remember that your family is always there for you. Be a better brother. Be a better son. Be a better friend. Remember that Christ saved you, forgives you, and never calls you to carry anything beyond the cross.
Love always. Hope for the best in life. Protect yourself. Look to Jesus for your peace.
This is all easier said than done but I suppose that it’s not? I mean, I went through it all and I’m having to do it now. It’s better to learn early then have never learned at all. In fact, it’s better to have lost love than to have never loved at all.
It’s up to you as to whether or not you heed my advice. I write to you in tears because I know how hard it’s going to be for you. It won’t be all bad, though. There are many, many beautiful moments and memories you will make. Cherish them. Keep them close to you in the dark times. Embrace love and never stop hoping.
You are loved.