A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self
Written By Ana Chavarria, USA
You’re an 18-year-old walking on air.
You’re in a place where you’d probably never be again. Don’t waste it. It’s probably the most beautiful time, with great moments to treasure. It’s unlikely you’ll experience them again.
You’re praying, reading your Bible, attending Bible study meetings with friends—everything seems to be easy and routine. You are just worrying about school work, reading all those books you have on your shelf, journaling almost daily, and dreaming about great and crazy things.
There is a lot going on in your head, though. Things that you can’t make sense of for reasons you and I know. It’s okay. Don’t get stressed out or frustrated; soon you’ll find a shoulder to lean on.
You dream about a future life—with a career, family, and friends. You can’t imagine where you’ll end up in five years. Well, let me tell you: It’s going to be a wonderful life, full of opportunities, experiences, and lessons that you’ll take with you forever. The God you read about in the Bible will be so real to you that every single day, you will be surprised by how much He loves you.
But I also have to tell you that the road ahead is going to get rocky and steep. Right now, you have a lot of friends—friends that you love and whom you can’t live without. You are shocked whenever you hear about stories of betrayal and people being alone. You think to yourself: “That will never happen to me.”
I hate to tell you this, but it will happen to you. It will happen and in part it’s going to be your fault. You are going to mess up and people will judge you. There will be no one to have your back. And there’s nothing you can do to avoid those years of solitude.
Yes, it’s going to hurt so bad that you’ll get sick and you will not be able to sleep. It’s going to be horrible, and you will feel so alone. You’ll lose people and things that you love dearly.
Just hold on, though, because it is going to be worth it. Even though it’ll seem like it’s the end of the world, it’s not! There is hope. You will find strength that you never thought you had, if you seek God wholeheartedly. He will guide you through everything. You can trust Him always. He will not judge you or condemn you. He loves you now and will love you forever.
You’ll learn so much through these painful times. You’ll grow stronger; you will be inspired to do new and different things. God will change your mind and heart, and He is going to increase your love and compassion for people so much that you will not mind if you have to go out of your way to help someone feel better. You’ll laugh more, you’ll speak your mind, you will not be scared of trying new things and having new friends, and you’ll fight so hard for what you want in life.
No matter what you go through, just know that your pain is going to be worth it, as you’ll soon have abundant joy again.
Be strong and don’t take anything for granted. Appreciate everything, even the little things in life. You’ll be surprised how often God gives us beauty every day.
Be cautious. Enjoy life. Love God and others, forgive, and keep smiling.
Your Present Self
EDITOR’S NOTE: What would you write in a letter to your past self? Would it be filled with words of advice, encouragement or warning? Share with us.
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