Experience is not the best teacher, but the truth is, despite the tough love and hard lessons learned, I needed my young adult life to play out exactly as it did beginning at the emancipation age of 18 in order to bring me to exactly where I am—content, possessing peace of mind, and humble knowing that, but for the grace of God my story could have had a different plot. Younger me possessed pride and a rebellion seemingly synonymous with youthful oblivion. My mother, who I now realize was always right, not perfect, but right, used to say, “if you don’t hear, you’ll feel.” I never really cared for that statement or more importantly, never grasped what it meant until I came to myself and acquired a portion of wisdom to be able to reflect on some of my past mistakes and how I had to feel in order to really learn valuable life lessons. If I knew in my youth and young adult years what I know now, it would have saved me from my mistakes, but it would not have served purpose because it would have prevented me from being made. Every past mistake, regrettable choice or decision when viewed through the lens of the present can be seen for what it was, a lack of wisdom or the failure to listen to wise counsel. A letter penned to younger me is futile because younger me is behind me and cannot be saved from the failures of her past. However, reflections on the past can be purposeful if they serve as constant reminders of the goodness, grace, and mercy of God and if they perhaps lead to the establishment of mentor-mentee relationships. Otherwise, I have no time to dwell on hindsight’s perfect knowledge because I cannot change a thing, but I can from experience tell someone else that they are whole, that no man, no matter how handsome and together he is, completes them, as they are already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10); that God purposely positions people in their life to help you make wise decisions, it is their choice to listen; that they are valuable on their own not by any human association or associations, but by the association of Jesus Christ; they have a purpose that can only be revealed by God, so it is best to be still and seek Him instead of their own agenda; that bad company will influence you to do wrong so choose your company wisely; that God’s protective, unconditional, Fatherly love is the greatest; and that because of His great love, the good and bad in their lives is essentially working together for their good (Romans 8:28). When you have overcome, the choices you may regret, and the things you may now be ashamed of are a tool for you to use to help others realize that their future will far outweigh their past if they are full of faith and put their trust in God.
Dear Younger Me is inspired by a song by the same title that I hear almost everyday on the radio and it forces me to be reflective, realizing how far I have come and how good my Father is: Dear Younger Me by Mercy Me.