Dear 18 year old self,
You’ve just left home and moved to college and you think you’re free. You think you are an adult and while that may be true in the eyes of the law, in reality you are not even close. You will take advantage of your new ‘freedom’ and make quite a few mistakes.
You may have grown up in a ‘Christian’ world, but when you move away you want nothing to do with it. You want to experience all college has to offer even if that means literally turning your back on everything you have known. You will start to question if God is even real and start to look into alternate belief systems. You just want to be in control of your life. You want to feel happy.
You will think that you need to dress in skimpy outfits and act flirty in order to get the attention you so desire. You just want to feel loved but you will go about it in all the wrong ways. Because you only want to love and be loved in return, these mistakes will lead you to feel disgusted with yourself. You will be crying out on most nights wishing things could change.
You will think you need to fall into a world of drug use in order to have ‘real’ fun. It may start off recreational, but it will go from every once in a while to multiple days a week, to all day every day. You will be lost in a world of bondage that you unintentionally created. You will not be able to quit for more than 6 years and when you do it will not be from your own will power but from One who is stronger than you.
It will be four years until you realize what it is you need; until you stop crying out to dark nights and start crying out to Jesus.
You will realize that those alternate belief systems are just pathways into darkness and enemy territory. You will start to realize that you really have no control at all that it is a breath of fresh air to just let it go and give it all to the Creator of the heavens and earth. You were not created to hold your burdens alone or to take on the enemy alone. You have a God who wants to take on those burdens for you. He wants you to be free and to fully trust Him.
You will begin to truly feel loved. You will start to see how beautiful you are and that your beauty comes from who God says you are and who He created you to be; not from outfits you wore or from the amount of attention you received. You will realize that you are His beloved and that you are worthy. You are purity. You are LOVED with unconditional, unadulterated, bring you to tears kind of love.
You will take ahold of the life you were meant to have and allow yourself to be pulled from a life of bondage into a life of freedom. You will be able to live your life and feel again. The best part is, you won’t be afraid of those feelings, you will embrace them. The feelings of anxiety and fear and worry that overtook you for so long will now be just another opportunity to throw yourself into the One who gives you peace and love and comfort and provision. He will never let you down and He will rescue you every time.
Oh, and don’t worry, God will give you the most amazing man to walk by your side in life. That man will honor you and love you the way He designed you to be loved. He will be the man you have been looking for your entire life. God will also give you the two most beautiful children in the world. You may have made mistakes, but still He will bless you. You are not your past mistakes. You are forgiven and redeemed. You will overcome all the odds and you will live your live with courage and be ready to take on whatever life may throw at you. And although you will still have a lot of growing to do, you will be proud of the woman you have become.
So have hope 18 year old self; continue to be strong and don’t lose faith.