I spend an overwhelming amount of time each week with students. This would probably be creepy except for the fact that it's my husband's job and mine too. Sometimes, hanging out with these crazy kids makes me feel like I'm still young and fun. Other times, it just makes me feel old......very old. But, as I watch them navigate those horrendously hormonal years, I am reminded of my own journey. I watch as these young ladies make some of the same mistakes I made. So this note is for them, and probably still for me too.
Dear teenage girl,
I am thirty one. I know this seems impossibly ancient to you, but you will be flirting with your thirtieth year before you know it! As an elder of the tribe I wish to share with you some nuggets of wisdom I have collected upon my journey.
First, it is not the end of the world. I don't know what it is, but I know it's not the end of the world. So calm down, take a deep breath and drop the hysterics. It could be your boyfriend dumped you, your best friend isn't talking to you or something that actually is serious. It's a bummer right now, but I promise you will one day laugh again. Now, I know some of you actually will be dealing with truly heavy stuff ( divorce, sick loved ones). You may not believe me, but this isn't the end of the world either. It may alter your world, but it won't end it. (This is the perfect opportunity for you to focus on the fourth topic of the letter. )
Second, take a break from your boyfriend! Go hang out with your girls! Dare I say it- spend time with your family ( you know those people you live with, birthed you, give you money)
Ladies, chances are you will not marry this boy you are now dating. So,if he isn't the one why waste all this time on him? And, if he is the one, well you have the rest of your life to hang out with him! My husband and I were high school sweet hearts, and we fell victim to this as well. Trust me, we never sit around and say, " Man, I wish we had gone on more dates back then!" No, we normally talk of our regret for not spending more time with friends and family.
Third, stop trying to be a grownup. Trust me, it's not that awesome. I know you think you are busy, overscheduled, and tired now... but you're not. I snicker when I hear teenagers say they are tired. You've never met tired! But, one day you will...and it's as horrific as you can imagine. So, enjoy these years of freedom. Act silly, stay up late giggling, sing with the radio at the top of your lungs ( cause when you do that as an adult people begin to worry).
Fourth and final, start growing now. So many teenagers say they will get serious about their spiritual walk later. Guess what? They normally don't. If you aren't making your relationship with the Lord a priority now, chances are you won't in the future. Don't waste this precious time to explore God's word. You are going to need this foundation as you head off to college and adulthood. It's a sad reality that the majority of students walk away from the church after graduation. I've watched it happen, and it breaks my heart. It' s the effort you put in now that will keep you from being a statistic later. God wants to you use you for His glory right now! Let Him! I mourn the time I wasted as a teenager. There were people I could have impacted for the kingdom of God, but I didn't because I was too busy saying I'd do it later. Learn from my mistake.
So teenage girl, go do something fun, build meaningful relationships with friends, spend quality time with your Creator, and enjoy all that energy you have.
The haggard old woman you saw pushing a stroller at the mall