When I look back at the girl I used to be, I just shake my head. What a bundle of fears and insecurities I was! I'm glad I can't go back and relive that life, even though it would be great to apply the things I've learned since those days.
If it were possible to give a heads-up to the teen-age Jerralea, here is what I would tell her:
1. You are beautiful, just as you are. I remember always feeling awkward and clumsy and worrying that I was fat. Anyone who can fit in a size 5 skirt is not fat. Somehow, I let the images I saw daily in magazines, on TV and at the movies convince me that I was not acceptable. I would be happy now to have the body I did then!
Since those days I have learned how God sees me. I am a masterpiece:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
and He rejoices over me with singing. Just. The. Way. I. Am.
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
He delights in me! Why can't I delight in myself as well?
2. Get a degree: I never went to college as a young person because I had no idea what I wanted to study. I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I didn't need a degree to be those things. Now I see that was short-sighted thinking. If I had a degree, life would have been a lot less scary when my husband became disabled.
3. Save your money: When I think of the money I wasted in my younger years, I just shake my head. I wish there had been a Dave Ramsey course in high school!
The Bend in the Road ...
However, you can't go back and give yourself advice. There are no do-overs in this life, and that is okay. My struggles and mistakes have helped shape me into the person I am today. I'm certainly far from perfect but I am kinder, wiser, and happier than I used to be. I'm excited to see what the bend in the road ahead has in store.
Life is a gift. Enjoy!
This post was written in response to the Writer's Workshop prompt 1.) If I could tell my teenage self... (inspired by Le Musings of Moi). To read of others' teenage angst, visit Mama Kat at her blog, Mama's Losin' It!