What I wish I could tell my 17-year-old self…

Hindsight is always 20/20.  Today, May 3 marks the anniversary of my first date with my beloved Nathan 14 years ago…our junior prom!  We’ve been together ever since!  This time of year always makes me think about prom…our graduation…so many great memories of a time I thought I had the world at my fingertips.  At 17 I had it all figured out.  It was my senior year of high school, I was in love, I had plans for myself, I had my faith tucked away and stored up in case I needed it, I had been successful so far in life…what more could I possibly need for a launch pad in life?  Oh what I wish I would have known!  Here are some of the things I wish I could tell my 17-year-old self.

#10-  Stop looking around at what everyone else is doing! 

Who cares what your friends are pursuing!  God only made 1 you…don’t try to be someone you’re not.  Embrace the person God created!  He has plans for you!  Listen to Him!  Look to Him!  This world is full of foolish distractions.  Don’t for a second compare yourself to someone else because when you do, you’re taking your eyes off of the Lord. 

2 Corinthians 11:3

#9- Don’t grow up too fast…enjoy being a kid!

I know you hate hearing that.  You’ve been over high school since freshman year.  Ugh.  But you only get to do this once…have more fun and don’t be so uptight and worried about getting straight A’s or staying busy all the time.  You will never attain perfection and you don’t have to…you’re human!  Stop beating yourself up!  Slow down and enjoy this…you will never have more free time…so use it wisely!

Ecclesiastes 3:1

#8-  Your parents love you more than you can possibly imagine and only want what’s best for you.

Honor your parents.  Consider their guidance.  You may not like what they have to say and you may not agree…but they have been in your shoes…and believe it or not…not all that long ago.  They have experienced a lot more than you have and they want to see you succeed…even more than you do.  You will have absolutely no idea how much they love you until you have a little one of your own…and God loves you far greater than that!

Ephesians 6:1-3

#7- A 4-year degree does not guarantee a job or a successful career.

The most successful people are those who think outside the box…do what no one else is doing…think of what no one else has thought of yet.  Innovation is the key to success.  Bettering yourself is always a good idea…no matter how old you are…there is always something more to learn…but don’t discredit experience.  It is just as important, if not more so than education.  But think about life and success God’s way…don’t trust your instincts.  Take the wisdom of this world and what it considers is a priority and flip it right upside down because whatever it tells you that you need…don’t buy into it.  Consider what God thinks…pray…look to His Word before you make any decision…big or small.

Isaiah 55

#6- There is no such thing as a perfect job.

The grass is not always greener.  There is always something you would change.    You will be under-appreciated and over-worked wherever you are…accept it, work hard anyway and be thankful…always be thankful.  You do not deserve a job.  You do not deserve anything.  It is only be the grace of God you have anything that you have so it really all belongs to Him.  Be content with what God has blessed you with…you did not earn it in your own merrit…He gave it. 

James 1:5-12

#5- Your priorities should be…God first, Husband second, Children third.

There are seasons in life and the Proverbs 31 woman is the epitome of balance.  Your children will only be little once…don’t waste the precious time you have with them on things that don’t matter.  Do whatever you need to do to support your husband…let me tell you…he’s the best and don’t you forget it!  Support him however he needs you to…financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually…he is the head of your household and you are his helper.  Remember to seek what God says…don’t listen to society.  Forget about being a pretty little legalist…simply going through the motions doesn’t work!  Let the Holy Spirit guide you…abide in Christ and let him simply and completely carry the burdens of life and you WILL find rest and peace in His presence. 

Proverbs 31:10-31

#4-  Life will not be easy…and you will suffer…but find the joy in it.

It has been said life is 10% what happens to you…and 90% how you react to it.  Even in the hardest circumstances there are blessings.  God has a purpose for everything even when we can’t see beyond our pain.  Sometimes you really have to search and sometimes you don’t see His blessings until you’ve come through the storm.  But, you’re never alone.  Once you get to the other side you may look back and realize Christ carried you through and He will have sweetly broken you to where you need to be.  Be humble and think about how Christ can use you in your suffering.  Don’t be proud…be obedient…let Him use you because it isn’t about you…it’s about Him!

James 1:2-4

#3- Whenever you think life is more than You can take…take a minute and think about Jesus.

He’s been in your shoes.  He’s been exactly where you are.  When you’re confused, when you’re weary, when you’re sorrowful…He understands.  Talk to Him!  He WILL be there!  Whenever you think you’ve got it bad…take a step back and think about Jesus and you’ll realize…you don’t!  When there is someone you find it hard to love…think of all the times you let Him down and how He still loves you enough to give His life for you…and love them anyway!

Philippians 2:5-11

#2-  Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out…God will show you that your logic and wisdom is absolutely nothing compared to His.

God gave you a Sword…use it…know it…hide it in your heart…you’re going to need it!  The Word of God is the most powerful weapon to fight temptation.  Listen to the Lord…His Spirit speaks through the Word…It is alive!  Stop and listen to Him.  God is not a God of confusion.  He will show You what to do.  Pray and fast…be still…He WILL speak!

Proverbs 3:5-8

#1-  Your life will not turn out at all the way you think it will…it will be immeasurably more than you can ever ask or imagine!

The great thing about God is…He’s the One that has it all figured out.  He had it all laid out before time began…so you don’t need to worry.  He has unlimited resources and anything is possible with Him!  Just listen to Him, trust Him, and obey Him…it’s as simple as that.  He’ll straighten everything else out.

Jeremiah 29:11

Even if I had read all of these tidbits of wisdom…would I have understood it…or believed it?  Being a stubborn redhead…I doubt it.  I’ve always been a learn the hard way kind of person and that is exactly what happened.  But…I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  It may have taken me 30 years to “get it”…and though I have much more to learn…I hope I don’t learn it the hard way!  I hope I take my own advice from experience!  This won’t be the last time I revisit this list.  It doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 70…we still need the Lord to guide us and quite often we let ourselves get in the way.  Today I am celebrating God’s overwhelming grace and thanking Him for a beautiful life…which is immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine!

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