What The Nineteen Year Old Version of Myself Needed to Know

Dear Nineteen-Year-Old-Self, 

I gently close my eyes, slowly inhale, and let my mind take me to that moment where I stood on the edge between a sheltered life and entering the world as it really exists.  The girl I see is standing alone in her white tank top and denim shorts, looking down and to the left.  She is not smiling, nor is she frowning.  She is just existing in complacency.  The scene around her is bright and she is pleasantly filtered.  But she is lonely.  She is insecure.  She has so much love to give, so much depth to her soul, so many beautiful things about her that she won't discover for over a decade. 

As I see this still shot of her, I yearn to reach out and touch her.  She doesn't want to be touched because she has been marred by her adolescent experiences and now wears a prideful shroud to deflect the idea that maybe beneath what is seen, she craves the warm touch of a good person.  She is too prideful to admit that she may be wrong about life.  She is too prideful to let in the important things.  Her focus is on being wanted and being wanted convinces her that life must be filled with unimportant things because that's what all the people who have it all are consumed with.  

I open my eyes and the image of her is gone, but the memories of my nineteen-year-old self still linger.  I want to go back in time and I want to talk to her.  I want to tell her that she has the world at her fingertips.  I want her to see herself and the value she is really worth through her own eyes, not believing the lies that her past rejections have fed her.  I want her to know that she is so loved.  

Instead of spending her days trying to fit in, I want her to spend her days tearing down the insecurities that high school plagued her with.  I want to tell her that there is freedom and when she receives it, it won't change her past burdens, but it will change her life.  

That girl I see is you.  And it's me.  The me that existed 17 years ago.  

You, nineteen-year-old self, are standing outside of your high school, saying goodbye to the life you think you already miss about to head to college.  But there is just so much I wish someone would have told you. 

This is your chance, Meagan. The moment you've been waiting for. The moment where you can wipe that slate clean and make a new world for yourself. You will never get a chance as good as this.

Seek people to fill your tribe who are kind, gentle, compassionate, merciful, grace-filled, and everything that you struggle to be.  Surround yourself with friends who breathe life into you and want the better for you more than you want it for yourself.  The number of these women will be small, but they will be mighty.  The mistakes you make will be because you are seeking a life based on everything the world tells you that you need to be.  You will come up empty when trying to satisfy these desires.  

Your self-worth is not found within the opinions of those who surround you. The world is telling you this in every aspect of your life. You feel you are happy only if you are pretty enough, fun enough, smart enough, wealthy enough to fit in. You are willing to sacrifice way too much to be a part of the crowd that gets the most attention. Don't compromise your self-worth for what you think will gain you more.  It is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

Stop thinking that what you look like on the outside is more important than that compassionate heart you have on the inside.  Skip out on the nice things that you crave now and focus on saving.  You want people to see your heart, not your Louis Vuitton handbag.  Besides, if you get all the nice things now that you think you deserve, you will be in debt and the more your debt climbs, the farther the nice things are from your reach and the rat race continues. Stay out of debt now and you will be thankful later. The way to financial freedom is to build it and the way to build it is to sacrifice. The new handbag will grow old and damaged, the new jeans will no longer fit, the sparkly earring will get lost, the fancy car depreciates when you drive it off the lot. But the good spending habits you develop now will last forever...and as long as you continue the good will the financial freedom.

It will take you time to learn that wealth is not built in what you have, but it is who you are and what you do for the Kingdom.  

Always remember that too much of anything is not always a good thing.

You will appreciate this lesson as you age.  Your weaknesses at age 19 are too much alcohol, too much dependence on the boyfriend and too much self.  Balance, young lady.  Excessive of all three of your vices will never bring you the happiness you seek.  

Alcohol is tempting and you've seen it as the way of life with those who went before you and those who surround you.  You will come to see it ruin so many lives and so many precious relationships, even within your own life.  Back off now.  It simply isn't worth it to waste days hung over.  There is so much good you could be doing in this broken world.  Your habit has led your mouth to become filthy, your thoughts to be impure, and your actions embarrass you when you wake up.  But this is what makes you fun.  You say, "Everyone will think I am boring if I cannot hang.  I will have to face the realities of who I am.  I am much more fun with a drink in my hand."  This is a lie, my love.  Everything you are is without that drink in your hand.  

But mostly, nineteen-year-old self, return to the foot of the cross. 

You know who Jesus is.  You know what He is all about but you have conformed to the world.  

You love him, but you have turned away from him.  

This world is not about your comfort, your fun, or your appearance.  

This world is about serving Him. 

Find a good church and get involved.  Give back your time.  The self-worth you are desperately seeking will immediately increase when you spend your time serving others.  Your faith will deepen, your priorities will shift and your mind will open.  When you receive freedom from the bondage of your young mistakes, you will be filled with His grace and you will begin to live a life of worthiness and purpose.  

Soon, you will meet a man.  His name is Adam and he will be the best thing that ever happened to you.  He loves Jesus, too, but he needs your help with the same things you are suffering from.  Oh, nineteen-year-old self, here is your chance to make a change in the history books and be so much more than the girl who partied through her early adult life.  Take the next ten years with this man and change your history.  See the world through the eyes of the broken, enjoy a glass of wine under the stars, let go of all the grudges you have kept and live a life of forgiveness and grace.  Don't waste your days still fighting for who you are.  You have a purpose and it is in Him.  Go to Jesus and begin to live out your purpose.  Live your life to the fullest with the Lord as an anchor in your soul. 

Your life turned out to be pretty beautiful when you took up the cross.  Just don't wait until you're 29 do it.  

Your Thirty-Five Year Old Self

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