Dear 25 year old self,
I see you there in the daily grind of young stay-at-home-motherhood. Life moves slowly it seems, when your children are 4 and 1. The days meld together in an ongoing stream of food preparation, diapers, house cleaning, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Blues Clues. Everything needs done all at once and sometimes you end the day with more on your to-do list than you started with. Those days are exhausting and sometimes discouraging because it feels like you will never, ever get everything done.
I keenly feel the pain with you over that broken friendship. Your best friend. The one that knew you and loved you.. She’s gone, she left, and you feel the loss with every breath you take, every face you wipe and and every diaper that you change. It doesn’t matter what you do to distract yourself; the pain and the emptiness are a real part of your everyday life. I know that you so desperately want to know. To understand. To make sense of things that seem senseless, so that even if the pain doesn’t end, at least you could see the point of it.
I want to remind you to be gentle with yourself. I know that you like to carry the burden. You are so good at taking responsibility for all of the things that have failed in your life. You want to own not only your own sin, but the sin of others as well. In some ways it’s a comfort to you, carrying all of that weight. You think that if you carry it, maybe that will stop these things from happening to you again, but it won’t.
There is an important lesson that I want you to learn, and it is this; It is good and right to take responsibility for what you have done wrong in a situation, but do not carry the weight of another person’s sin. I know this makes sense to you, as it is logical. But I am warning you that this is not as easy as it seems. In those moments when you are fighting for sleep, you will tell yourself that if you just hadn’t done that, if you hadn’t said those things, they wouldn’t have reacted in the way that they did. They wouldn’t have hurt you. They wouldn’t have walked away from you. But that’s a lie.
When you do or say something wrong or sinful, go ahead and own that and apologize. But you are not responsible for the actions of another person. That weight is not for you to carry. Trust yourself. Trust your gut. Trust the ability of the Holy Spirit in your life to tell you which is which.
Sometimes dear girl, the only confirmation you will have about right or wrong is your gut and the Holy Spirit. That’s okay. I know it’s scary. It’s terrifying sometimes to have everyone around you say that you are wrong. I am reminding you that you can trust what you know. You can trust your intuition. Even if logically it doesn’t makes sense, your gut will tell you the truth. Even if everyone around you tells you you’re wrong. Even if you can’t explain or verbalize it. Being verbal is not an indication of truth.
You are not crazy. If you meet someone and they put off a creepy vibe, they are almost certainly creepy. If you like someone, but don’t feel safe with them, they are likely untrustworthy. If you work with someone and you know that in the future they will hurt you, they probably will. If something feels “off” about someone, keep your guard up. Your future self has evidence that you were right about these things.
On the other hand, you will know when someone is safe and trustworthy. I’m sorry to say that it’s not as many people as you’d hope, but you will know it when you find it. When you find them, even though I know it’s hard for you, you need to open up and let yourself be known. Even when it’s hard and it hurts. It’s worth it. You need those people in your life, because as much as you know, you don’t know it all. You need people to disagree with you, give you different points of view, and to spur you on towards maturity.
Satan knows you and your strengths and weaknesses, so keep this in mind. When Satan lies to you, it doesn’t come to you through loud accusations of people who you don’t care about. Instead those lies will come from people close to you. They will come subtly. Your value and worth will be attacked through people who seem to know you. They will tell you one thing with their words, but your intuition will tell you something different. If you ask questions about what you are seeing, it will be denied. You will be told that you are crazy, irrational, too emotional, or otherwise unreliable.
When this happens, Satan is right there, whispering in your ear that you are crazy. That you are wrong. That you are stupid; worthless even, because you can’t seem to see things the way that everyone else sees them. But darling, this is the way that God created you! To be different! To view the world in the way that you do. To discern. To teach. To prophesy. Of course you see things different. Do not be weighed down by the people who do not see your value. Do not believe the lies.
I know that you have a desperate desire to be thought of as ‘tough’. I know that you view being overly emotional as a weakness, and you fight so hard to cover up your emotions so you are not considered weak. Be careful with this. God has created you to be tender. To be empathetic. To be able to sit with another person who is suffering and feel their pain as your own. The world needs this tenderness, so do not harden your heart to the point of losing this gift. On the other hand, be aware that the suffering of others does indeed come to you as your own. You absorb it, and it will affect you physically as well as emotionally if you are not careful. Make sure that you allow yourself the time and space you need to recharge after sitting with suffering people.
I wish that I could tell you that relationships get easier, but they do not. If anything they might get more difficult because the stakes get higher. The spiritual warfare gets more intense as you grow and mature and become comfortable in who you are, and how God made you. God has big things planned for you one day.
Last but not least, I want you to know is that there is nothing you can do to ruin God’s plan for your life. No mistakes, no sin, no poor choices.. God is so good and loves you so much that He truly does use all of those things for good. Just wait and see. Rejoice in this. Be free. Be who you are. The world needs you.