14 Things About Life I Wish I Could Tell My 14-year-old Self

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I think out of all the awkward teenage years, fourteen is one of the most awkward. It’s just the worst. It’s right in the transition stage between childhood and adulthood; you’re still feeling like a kid in many ways, but your mind and body (not to mention your family, friends, and culture) tell you you’re not one anymore. So you shift hesitantly into “adulting mode,” but the minute you do, you start skidding out of control and bumping into anything and everything with the klutzy grace only a teenager can manage.

Yeah. You need some serious help. You probably have parents waiting to impart a wealth of wisdom and advice, but sometimes there are things about life that just can’t or won’t be learned from parents. Sometimes a true grasp of these things will only come through many years of trial and error in the classroom of life.

At any rate, don’t you wish 14-year-old you could have reached into the future and had a nice chat with your mature, responsible grown-up self? You’d probably have a better chance than anyone else of actually jolting some sense of seriousness into yourself.

Unfortunately, time travel is still in the unknown future (see what I did there?), so a blast into the past is not currently feasible. But I decided to write down my list of sage advice anyway and just maybe it will do someone some good somewhere in time.

1. High school work is really not that bad.

Seriously. Enjoy this walk in the park while you can. (And honestly, sometimes you’re the one who makes it a lot worse than it really is.)

2. Spend time with your family whenever you can.

Develop your relationship with each one of them, and value the simpler, carefree life you have now; because someday everything will change, and you’ll really miss those times when everyone was together. Start to love them with all your heart now, no matter how difficult they may make it at times; you’ll be glad you did. They are irreplaceable and the time with them is a treasure. No one ever regretted loving their loved ones too much.

3. Conflicts with your friends over who has the prettiest clothes or the most trendy haircut or the coolest stuff are not worth getting worked up over.

Not at all. On the scale of issues worth fighting over, those things rank…oh, maybe in the negative 10,300s?

4. Math assignments are fun.

Yeah, they really are. If you have a hard time believing that, just take my word for it. Make them fun and enjoy them while you can. I promise you will understand in about six years when you are in the middle of writing a college research paper on literary criticism.

5. Curly hair and freckles are not that bad.

In fact, they are awesome. If you can get that into your head right now, you’ll save yourself years of frustration and tears.

6. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Hold on tight to that hope and never give up on God and life. You’re going to hit some tough times when you’ll really feel like it, but your Father will never leave your side throughout them all. Believe that He has a deeper purpose and design in every single thing that happens to you than you could ever imagine. Rest on His unfailing promises.

7. Don’t ever develop too lofty of an opinion of yourself.

I know that you feel pretty smart and clever right now, and while you are an intelligent cookie, you still have a ton to learn, girl, and you’ll never grow too wise to learn something new. And don’t get a big head because I just called you intelligent.

8. Treasure the time you have with your Grammy now.

She won’t be here forever. She’s one of the last of that greatest generation. Be patient with her, even when she’s upset and confused. Deep inside, she loves you, and she just wishes she could go back to the time before her life turned fuzzy and disoriented. She desperately needs your love and support because that’s all she has left in this world.

9. People aren’t always going to understand you.

They just aren’t. Sometimes you’re going to feel like no one else in the world truly understands you. But that’s okay. It’s more important that you endeavor to understand others than to make them understand you. Rather than resenting all the people in your life because they won’t take time to listen to you, you can be that valuable person in your community who is a healer of hurts and uplifter of sunken spirits. Our society desperately needs more genuine listeners free of prejudice and criticism. Learn to forgive and let things go. Be ready to do it over and over and over. You can never be too forgiving and compassionate. Be the best representative for Jesus that you can be. And in the midst of all the misunderstandings, remember that there is One who will always understand you perfectly.

10. Embrace your unique personality.

You are amazing, just the way you are. The world needs people like you, so don’t try to be like everyone else. The world needs youand the special presence and talents that only you can bring to the table. You’re one-of-a-kind, limited edition. There will never again be someone exactly like you in the world. Considering the billions of people who have ever lived, that makes you pretty valuable. Treasure those friends who love you for who you are.

11. Following God is more important than following your dreams.

Don’t get me wrong. Doing what you love and dream of, and doing it with passion and enthusiasm and creativity, is vital and more important than simply finding a well-paying job and making money. But following your dreams at the cost of following God’s higher purpose for you is fatal. God gives us dreams and desires, but we have to line up with Him in everything else first. As you’re following after Him, He will infuse His divine purpose into every other part of you. Let God be your greatest dream, and He will give meaning to all of life.

12. Don’t get so caught up in theology and religious standards that you miss out on a relationship with the Author of your faith.

Those doctrines and rules don’t mean anything unless you adhere to them out of a heart-connection with the living God. He would rather you love Him with all your heart, soul, spirit, and make mistakes, than to woodenly follow a set of rules and doctrines perfectly. Engage in the spiritual disciplines as a means to getting to know the Person behind them; He is the end goal to all of it. Then let that relationship be the source of all the decisions and actions you make for your spiritual life. If you truly love and honor someone, you won’t need a set of rules to demand compliance out of you; you’ll do what’s right out of a simple desire to please the one you love.

13. Don’t take good health for granted.

It’s a precious gift from God. Yes, He wants to bring wholeness to our lives ultimately, but sometimes getting there is a bit of a journey with many, often difficult, personal and spiritual lessons to gain throughout the process. During that journey, never lose sight of the significance of taking care of yourself, physically, spiritually, and mentally, in every way you can.

14. Don’t waste your time overanalyzing your life, your mistakes, and what could have been.

You can’t change anything about the past. Certainly not by worrying. The only time you have is the present. You can only just keep on faithfully, giving yourself grace and learning from your mistakes while pushing on to become the best possible version of yourself. And don’t make one blunder an excuse to give up on trying to be your best. Let your past be a valuable guide for your life now and in the future.

Likewise, don’t fritter your time away worrying about the future. Fear doesn’t change your future, and it only erodes the quality of your present. Focus on the grace evident in yourself and others and use the small steps that you’ve taken as your jumping-off points toward greater and greater steps.

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Some of these are a little silly and more trivial in comparison to the rest, but for the more serious points, I guess you could kinda say they are a summary of many of the things I’ve been learning over the past few years. It’s sad that it’s taken me so long to grasp these concepts. Maybe if I’d been more receptive and humble toward my parents and God and any other advice-givers in my life when I was younger, I’d have understood these things a lot sooner, and perhaps have had fewer regrets. But like I just said in #14, it’s not worth it to look back and wish things had been different.

Everything in my life, both the good things and the bad things, have been working out and molding me into the person I am today, the person that is loved and valued by her Father; the person He has meticulously designed and planned out a purpose for long before I consisted of even a single cell. So who am I to agonize over the “what if’s” and disparage and torment myself because I could have and should have been a better person, done things differently, made wiser choices. I mean, even if that’s true and I should have been wiser in my past, that’s nothing to God anymore, because He has cleaned my slate and given me a fresh start. Every day He does that. And I should give myself that same freedom and forgiveness, now and in the future.

So even if, like me, you’re just now learning and putting into practice some of these life concepts, rest assured that the earlier days of your life were not a waste or a reason for regret in any way!

Because of who God is, I can forgive myself. I can live a new life every morning. Let that be the new tune of your life as well.

When God Reveals Himself in Simple, Unexpected Ways

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If you’re like me, you may have wished more than once that God would reveal Himself to you in a grand, thunderbolt-like, voice-in-the-sky gesture. Maybe you’ve told Him that, too.

“Lord, I just want a sign from you; just reveal yourself to me in a clear, undeniable way so I know you are here with me and that you have a great purpose for me.”

Maybe you then turned away resigned to silence, in fact, not really expecting any sort of response at all. In reality, perhaps you were just venting from a long, hard day and weren’t directing your words toward God seriously.

But whether or not you realized it, He did respond to you. Continue reading

Quote of the Week | Do Extraordinary Things

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People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.

~ Sir Edmund Hillary

I just have to say, the guy who said this quote accomplished an extraordinary thing to come up with something this profound.

It’s really true. Maybe if we really understood this concept, we would all stop pushing ourselves and others to be so good and then beat ourselves down when we fail.

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How Traveling Has Shifted My Perspective on Life

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Have you ever had one of those experiences in which your whole perspective suddenly shifts and you now see life in a new and fresh way?

Most of us probably can look back to something in our lives that we consider a defining moment or event. A book, a trip, a conversation, a song, or even an imperceptible moment of change that we really can’t put our finger on.

Sometimes defining moments in life are not even a single moment in time. Continue reading

Crossing Over the Great Wall of Fear

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First of all, uh…no, I did not get this post out when I was planning. Here’s an apology for being over three weeks late. But in my defense, in those weeks, I’ve started a new job, or maybe two new jobs, if you want to get technical; I’ve been planning and preparing for a two-and-a-half week long trip to Europe with my sister that we are leaving for on Tuesday; and just a lot of other stuff thrown in there too. In other words, I’ve been busy.

However, I’ve also spent a lot of time laying out my thoughts for this post, so I really hope it will be an aid and encouragement to you! Winning the battle against fear is a topic that I believe we as Christians need so badly and seems to be often overlooked in our circles as a legitimate problem to address.

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Quote of the Week | The Other Side of Fear

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Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

– George Addair

I saw this quote recently and it’s become one of my favorite inspirations to remind myself of whenever I fall into worry or anxiety about my circumstances.

I’m writing a longer post about fear that I’ll put out later this week, but for now, just think about that statement. Really let it sink in. Then go and be victorious in everything you do the rest of the week.

It’s amazing what you can do when fear is no longer a factor.

 

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Hope you enjoyed what you read! Feel free to add your personal thoughts in the comments below. If you haven’t already, check out my About page, and I’d love it if you subscribed to my blog as well! That way you won’t miss any of my future posts, and you’ll completely make my day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Easter: The Culmination of the Greatest Life

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Last weekend my family got together with some friends for a group reading of the gospel of Mark. I had never done anything like that before, so it was a new and amazing experience. There’s something undeniably moving and enthralling about taking in the entire story of Jesus’ earthly life in one sitting, especially being involved in reading it and hearing it read out loud among other brothers and sisters in Christ.

It left me with a fresh perspective of the significance of Easter and put me in a positive and anticipatory mood for the upcoming Easter weekend and the Passion week we are currently in.

And it makes me wonder why we don’t give it a serious month or two to celebrate it like we do for Christmas, because Easter is so much grander in scope than any other holiday, even Christmas. Continue reading

Quote of the Week | The Greatest Quote Book

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“For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.”

Psalm 36:9 (NLT)

I don’t normally post a quote from the Bible as my quote of the week, but you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty much the greatest quote book on the planet. Written by the Creator of the universe. So yeah, I’d say He’s probably worth listening to.

This is just some plain, pure truth from God.

He is the fountain of life, the light by which we live and understand. He’s the source of our everything. Without Him, we are nothing.

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Hope you enjoyed what you read! Feel free to add your personal thoughts in the comments below. If you haven’t already, check out my About page, and I’d love it if you subscribed to my blog as well! That way you won’t miss any of my future posts, and you’ll completely make my day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Quote of the Week | It’s Not What, But How

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“Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do, but how much love we put into it.”

~ Mother Teresa

Recently I’ve been struggling with knowing what it is God wants me to be and do. I haven’t been feeling particularly useful or that my daily life is ultimately worth while in the situation I am in currently.

Continue reading