Though time travel is not possible, I am writing this letter to my younger self at 18 years old, transiting from high school and through campus. The letter will reflect the lessons I have learned through that season of my life relevant to my brothers & sisters in that season,
Dear Younger me,
Am so glad you are growing old each year, this is all you had wanted to be when you were the babbling baby wishing you would be older, freer, perhaps out of high school and ‘restrictions’, able to start small businesses, move around the City perhaps and so on, dearest one;
- Congratulations for getting this far- you have survived the loaded homeworks, early mornings to school, crazy timetables, stiff competition among classmates, pressure to perform from parents and many other childhood pressures, you are here now. The society now calls you an adult, the Lord has kept you. You have done your best perhaps in school or you even wish you would have read better, maybe you would be doing a different course now in a better campus but it’s done, right? You still feel like you made it to this stage, now you are ‘free’ no one will wake you up for compulsory preps in the morning or morning duties, hey honey you are an adult now, what you wanted all along. And better still, you are now allowed to even own your own phone.
- Celebrate genuinely, it is a beautiful season but be careful of the hype of freedom. Make decisions soberly, that is what adults do, to be an adult is to behave like one, not necessarily getting what you want, the time you want it- like a baby. That was a baby culture, you cried and demanded for things when you wanted them, but adults evaluate, think through and make sober judgments, they don’t obey every craving the body has, they take control of their actions, they don’t just tag along-they evaluate associations; that is what grownups do.
- Growing old is inevitable but growing up is a choice- We cannot control our getting older, because as time passes each day we grow old but you will have to be intentional about growing up. The fact that you are old now does not mean you are a grown up. Growing up is not necessarily age, it is a daily commitment to learn, ask, question and surround yourself with the right catalysts of growth. Growing up is the real task, it is sometimes failing and waking up again to make better decisions, it is cultivating disciplines the enhance your growth. And it is a personal choice, if you don’t choose the path you would like to follow, the world will make the choice for you and it will be catastrophic.
- Find your identity in Christ- Right now, you will conflict on who you really are and who you are becoming. The greatest attack the enemy will use on you is your identity. You are living in a society that puts too much pressure on how you look, who you hangout with, what you have and sets standards that are quickly embraced by the truth as the true validation of who you are. Social media sets unrealistic standards through celebrities and fashion and you may end up trying to strive to adjust to every new parameter that sets in and this will lead you to a state of insecurity and struggle to meet all the targets set by society. Don’t fall into that trap, stand on the only Firm foundation- Jesus Christ and who He says that you are. When you practically understand who you are in Christ it will have a profound impact on how you feel about yourself and you can therefore rise to challenge the lies embedded and promoted by the cultures around us. Allow Christ to validate you. Jesus is not some company you will need when you get to 50 years, Jesus is the best company anyone would ever have in their present age! It is not too early to be completely sold out to Jesus. He is very relevant to your life now. Don’t ignore Him. Once you have Him, you have the good life you ever wanted to have and knowing Him will make your life unbreakable!
- Follow your heart is a fallacy, follow Christ! Culture will tell you the ultimate determiner in making decisions is your heart: “what is your heart telling you to do?” “You just need to follow your heart” and that will seemingly look like some very good advice since anyway, its what you will always want to hear. What is the heart? Is it just something that pumps blood through our veins to the rest of the body? According to other definitions, it is the location of our feelings, desires and emotions. Therefore if we were to define the statement ‘follow your heart’ it would be ‘follow your feelings, emotions and desires’, let them guide you. How dangerous that would be? Feelings and emotions are the most inconsistent things that any person can ever have. They keep changing, they can change just with a phone call, or a nasty word from a friend, or traffic jam and so on. If you were to follow them, you would be all over doing everything, depending on your moods at that particular time. That would mean you will be completely lost. What does God tell us about the heart? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9); “From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). You therefore can’t trust your heart, but you can trust the One who made it. He says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Don’t therefore follow your heart, follow Jesus. Let your heart bow to Jesus, desperately desiring to be led by Him. Your feelings are not God, neither do they define the truth, God does. Don’t worship your feelings, rather plead with God to Purify your feelings and transform them so that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
- Deciding to Follow Christ will many times feel like a lonely path, but choose Him anyway. Be careful using the same path the crowd is using, it is a road to destruction. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14. Be careful of doing ‘what everyone is doing.’ The world hates unique people, they will even mock you and try to show you that you are being left out, and pressure you to be like them, their ways will look fancy and they will seemingly look like they are ‘making it in life’, do not fall for that trap. The walk with Jesus might feel lonely sometimes but the beauty is that you have Jesus and they don’t . Fight darling ,stay along the righteous path. Every small compromise you make will lead you to destruction. Sin does not come to your doorstep like lightening, it is a simple compromise after another and destruction becomes your path of Life. Sin is very costly and the price is not paid in cash, it is paid through physical, mental, spiritual and emotional pain. The bible is not a letter full of Dos and don’ts from God, rather it is a Love letter from our Loving Father with essentials of right living so that we do not live in pain. It is God’s way of protecting you. He Loved us that much! Always remember that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” – Ravi Zacharias.
- There is no relationship you can experience now that will ever be fulfilling as the relationship between you and God!- Never trade it for anything else.His love for you is pure and Holy. There is no human attachment that can quench the thirst you have right now. His counsel is sure, His voice is calm, His wisdom is stable. You must nurture your Faith in Him. Your faith will not grow by chance it is by choice. Reading the Word of God is not old-fashioned, it is an urgent necessity! It is the only way to Life.
- You are not a failure if he/she did not like you back-you are who God says you are! Beautiful, smart, loved, talented and likeable. One person’s lack of romantic feelings for you does not make you unworthy. Jesus loved you deeper, higher, stronger, wider than any other love you can ever experience, to a point He died for you! The truth is that if He loved you that much, He is not limited to give you the romantic love that you truly deserve. Pray, wait and Trust!
- Listen to your parents- They want the best for you. It is a circle of protection God bestowed to you, stay within it for protection. Earn your parents trust, it is a growth point to becoming an adult. There are no perfect parents or family, but it is with our imperfect families that we spend plenty of perfect moments along the way. Embrace your family God gave you and celebrate the perfect moments you have shared together, He gave you the best.Your home is the place God has called you right now, serve, it may not always look fun compared to the other places your peers choose to be in the moment but it is your protection, stay within its boundaries so that you do not end up like Dinah Genesis 34. Boundaries are God’s protection and they are necessary .
- Avoid falling into the Comparison trap- The Life God has given you might not be perfect but it is the best for you. The family you come from is the best family, if God was to create you again, you would be born in the same family, in your own uniqueness of wealth and ability, there will always be someone who has better than yourself, or less. But embrace your life. Do not compare your normal imperfect life to someone’s controlled online content. Comparison is the thief of Joy. It is God’s will that we are all different in all aspects. John 21:21-22 “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” According to Jesus it was not Peter’s business on “what about the other person”, His work was to follow Christ. Comparison will either make you proud or make you look down on yourself since you make it your business on who is like this and that and why not this and that. It is beyond your control, embrace the life you are living and celebrate the rest for their successes and the lives God has in His wisdom given them, don’t covet it. Live your story.
- You are a product of your choices- Choose your circle well, master your distractions and addictions- don’t allow yourself to be mastered by anything.
- Make your life significant right now- You may think that you’ll be ‘someone’ important in future but the truth is that you are someone already, do not despise your youth, you can make a difference in the present. The tragedy of Life may not be not to ever attain your goal but it is not living for any goals now. Be useful, serve God and serve others. Work hard- be positive, but positive thoughts are not just enough, work to attain the goal, lest you will die just a positive thinker. Go to school, learn & grow your gifts, start that book, start that business, it will be a product of your work not just your positive thoughts about what life will be or what you will become. Redefine sucess as God defines it so that you don’t live to chase the temporary toys the world calls success. Live for a higher goal to give your life significance.
- Live a life of integrity- Trying to live a double life only wounds you badly in the end. Be the same person whether in school, at home, in church or in the streets. A person who lacks integrity can fall for anything. Character is much easier kept than recovered- do all you can to keep yours intact and consistent.
- Do not define your life by the lowest points of your life- Forgive yourself and make better decisions, learn but don’t be defined by the low moments of life.
- Find Godly counsel- “If you will go far you will need to stand on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton.
Dear younger self, you can have all this if you are under the rock, Choose Jesus and you will have the best life one can ever have in this World. Be Faithful and obey Him, He is the most relevant person in this current age.
With alot of Love,