Summer is slowing fading away like a sweet distant memory. I welcome the change of pace with open arms. Fall is truthfully my favorite season. I savor the scent of the warm fall air and crisp leaves, wearing light flannel tops, and going to football games. There is something comforting and peaceful about it. I’m nearly ashamed to say that I actually miss the buzz of starting school.
For those of you who are starting school this fall, this one is for you. In thinking back, there were things I wish I would’ve known. Inspired by one of my favorite Brad Paisley songs, I set out to write my Letter to Me. I hope it inspires you.I hope it brings back memories or gives you hope. Much love!
To the Young and Free,
I hope you see each new school year as an adventure and opportunity to grow. I know you may dread the confinement of school and pain of homework, but you will someday really miss this time in your life. You’ll miss school sports and the lights of Friday night football. You’ll miss the anticipation and breaks you get for holidays and the accessibility of your family. You’ll miss tp-ing with your friends on homecoming week and cheering in the student section at basketball games.
When it comes to friends, don’t confine yourself to one friend group. It’s good to be friends with a lot of different people. It will make you well rounded. Be ok with moving away from some friendships and moving into new friendships, but invest in the life long ones, cultivate those. Appreciate those really special teachers that truly care about you and want to see you succeed. Be respectful to your parents and other adults. Someday it will make you cry when you realize all that your parents did for you growing up. Never turn down an opportunity to do something with your family. These memories are priceless.
I know it hurts your heart that you never get asked to school dances. I know it secretly makes you cry that you always feel left out all the time and not enough. Please know that being asked to school dances or parties isn’t everything. It actually protected you from a lot of things AND it’s a lot more fun to go with friends anyway (so much less pressure!) [Also, don’t let yourself be guilted into going on dates with guys that like you simply because you’re the only one that’s nice to them…and don’t let yourself think that you need to settle] God has a really special purpose for you. Acceptance by anyone or anything other God is only temporary. That kind of acceptance will never fulfill you.
Try out for the tennis team. It’s not the end of the world if you decide to quit basketball after playing your whole life. Life will go on. Being a photographer for the yearbook will give you appreciation for athletes across the board, and spark your passion for wanting to minister to them down the road. P.S. Don’t give up on your desire to include everyone in the yearbook no matter their popularity.
Just be friends with guys, you don’t have to date right now. (It will save you a lot of heartache). There is nothing wrong with you if you’re not dating someone or if you are saving yourself. It’s admirable and virtuous. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Purity is beautiful. Innocence is beautiful. Don’t listen to anyone who thinks otherwise- they only say mean things because of their own regrets and emptiness.
Love means more than you think, don’t take saying it lightly. Love is worth the wait. Pray for your future husband. Be confident in who God made you. You are truly beautiful inside and out – you aren’t meant to be someone else, look like someone else, or act like someone else.
Be light and love. Be encouraging. Be kind. Have hope. You will never regret an act of kindness towards someone, but you may always regret a harsh word. Your words are powerful and can hurt or bless. Smile always. Sharing a genuine smile can impact someone’s life in ways you’ll never understand.
You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life right now. Life is not a race – enjoy the journey, enjoy the now. Enjoy the freedom of being young. Try new things. Don’t live your life trapped in fear. Adventures are to be had! Be involved in extracurricular activities. (It’s a beautiful thing when it’s time to fill out your college scholarships.) Put energy into getting good grades, don’t slack off or think that it doesn’t matter. Learning time management and mind management will make college a breeze. Trust me!
Prom is not all it’s made out to be. Graduation is as huge as they make it out to be. You should be proud of your accomplishments and brave with your speech. Just a heads up, it’s worth the money for a good senior picture photographer! Oh, and please remember to wear flats with your homecoming dress when you are on the court for queen walking across the football field – no matter how cute those heels are!
As for the random advice: practice being a good steward by taking care of your things. Never take people for granted. See the good in people. Big trucks or cool cars are not an indicator of boyfriend material. Habits are hard to break. Create good ones now. Be helpful and develop a servant heart. Have an attitude of thankfulness and humility, not entitlement. Stay far away from drama. Rise above the sting of social media, hurtful words, and gossip. Overcome evil with good even when it’s hard and you don’t want to. Real life is out there to be lived, don’t waste yours on social media. You have your own story to write.
When you are in college, choose your friends wisely. Go to every home football game that you can. Make the most of office hours and emailing your professor. When they see that you care, they are more willing to invest in you. Do a little bit of schoolwork each day – you won’t get behind this way. Invest in friendships. Don’t forget to come home and visit every now and then.
Alcohol is not glamorous, neither are the parties. Know your identity in Christ and be firm in it, because your beliefs and morals will be tested. Use wisdom. Be compassionate. Don’t write people off or burn bridges. Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone. Someone very wise once told me that stretching causes growth. NEVER forget to “SAVE AS” and CONSTANTLY PUSH THE SAVE BUTTON (very important for future reference). Take the chance to study abroad, and please don’t let your camera get shaken in your luggage. Be confident in what God has for you, don’t let others tell you who or what you need to be.
Please know most importantly, that you are loved more than you know. You matter to God. God will never forget about you or leave you alone – even in your darkest hour. He has someone really special for you. I hope you never give up. God has a path that unique for you – you won’t be able to imagine doing anything else. I know it’s risky sometimes to follow God, but it’s a journey you’ll never regret. The decisions you are making now have the ability to set you on a path better than your imagination. Have faith, have courage, and trust Him. Keep pressing forward and focusing on the good. God has an amazing life in store for you sweet one.