Dear 16-year-old Me,
I’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news? Your life doesn’t turn out the way you’re hoping.
The good news? That’s not such a bad thing.
Relax, girl. You pretend to be easygoing (no one buys that, by the way), but I know how tightly wound you are, concerned with all the shoulds and musts and trying and trying and trying. You’re so concerned with the opinions of your friends, and that boy you think you love, and the numbers on the scale. Relax.
Those friends? You lose touch after graduation and don’t hear from them much in a few years, except on this thing called Facebook. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to use it when the time comes. And you make new friends. Lifelong ones who know the real you (the you you don’t even know yet).
That boy you think you love? You don’t marry him. In fact, one day you’ll be glad you didn’t. The man you do marry? Well, he’s the one God had in mind for you all along. You don’t know him yet, but when you meet him, you’ll know. And he loves you, I mean really loves you.
The numbers on the scale? Well, I’m not gonna lie, my friend, those just keep going up. So take a second and be happy with the way you look right now, and instead of stressing out about it, enjoy it. In fact, if you’d relax and stop eating those chocolate chip cookies from the cafeteria, you’d probably do us both a world of good.
If I could reach back in time and give you a hug, I’d tell you this: You’re beautiful, just the way you are. I know that you have not heard those words, and you need to. Your heart and your loyalty and, yes, your body – they are beautiful. You are special because you are you, and there’s no one like you. So I want you to stop trying so hard to be like someone else. Just be you. Real, honest, you.
I know you feel like you’re not enough and too much, all at the same time, and I know the arguments in your head about the way you’ve been told God sees you and the way you see yourself. I know you hide behind your good grades and popular friends because you think those are the only worthwhile things about you. None of that is true.
It’s okay that you’d rather spend Friday night reading a book or hanging out with a few friends instead of going to the big dance. It’s okay that you never talk to boys or that you are terrified to speak in front of people. It’s ok that you’d rather have one good friend than ten alright ones. You were made to need quiet time, and just a few friends, and you only ever really need to know how to talk to one boy. Oh, and you end up being a teacher, so you get over that speaking thing pretty quickly.
You are enough. You are. Not because you’re so amazing (although you are so much more than you see yourself as right now), but because you are chosen by a God who makes choices. A God who sees you, all of you, and says “That one right there? She is mine. I love her.” That is enough.
Now, I need to tell you something important, so listen up. Stop arguing with your momma. Go, right now, and give her a big hug. Tell her you love her and mean it. She loves you with a love that is so deep, you can’t understand it yet, so just trust me. Because reality is that you only have a few more years left with her, and they go so fast. She will become your very best friend, and then you will lose her, and it will tear you apart. Cherish her now, make every moment count. Learn how she makes the Christmas breakfast casserole, talk to her about being a wife, ask her advice about being a mommy, and write down everything that she says. The person who knows and loves you better than anyone in the world will be gone sooner than you realize and you will miss her every day. Even more when you’re a mommy yourself. So go give her a hug.
Yes, you will get to be a mommy. In a little more than a decade, you’ll have a baby girl and she will break your heart in the best possible way. She is a mini you, and you will see yourself in her eyes and your momma in her heart, and you will love her more than you ever knew you could love anything. So stop worrying about boys. You meet one (the right one), and you build a family with him, and it is beautiful.
A couple of other things you should probably know…
Marriage is not like the movies. Let that fantasy go. It’s wonderful and crazy awesome and worth it, but it is also harder than you ever could have imagined. Start practicing your forgiveness and apology skills now. You will be needing them. You’ve got a great partner for the journey, though.
Also, it’s not just you, high school sucks. College is where you’ll finally find your place. The irony about wishing you were cool is that a lot of those cool high school kids peaked in high school, and you’re only just getting started. Be glad about that.
That writing thing? Stick with it. It is more of a part of you than you can see right now. And that book that Dad’s always pestering you to write?
You write it. 🙂
You are loved. SO loved. So quit trying so hard and start living. There is so much more ahead of you than homecoming. I promise.
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