“If I could go back to my younger self, I’d be like, “Not everything’s permanent.” – Mila Kunis
“What’s something you wish you could tell your 16 year old self?” was a question posed on Instagram the other day. I proceeded to ponder and answered through my Instagram story for all 823 followers of mine to see. The answer was thoughtful but short of all that I really wanted to say.
Advice to younger self seems so cliché as you age; especially when you’ve hit 30, like myself. However, you begin to wonder; what would you tell your younger self?
I recently took a pause on sharing and writing for my blog to refocus on God’s purpose for me creating this site. When I saw the above question appear on my timeline that morning, I felt compelled to share wisdom. I believe it’s incredibly important these days for older generational women to speak wisdom into the younger generations. We allow so much of social media dictate our train of thoughts and decisions, especially the younger generation, instead of those who have walked the long path before.
Here’s my younger self: I grew up in a conservative evangelical family with a typical “American dream” background. Father worked hard, Mother was a stay at home superhero, and I was the oldest of three. All three of us were heavily involved in sports and other extra curricular activities. Attended church every Sunday, youth group on Fridays, both parents were Sunday School teachers, and Dad was a deacon. Yes, we were that family; driving all of our friends to youth group. All excelled in school the best we could, and attended a four year college after graduation.
Here’s the thing; I didn’t really know who I was in high school. Sure I was known as the female jock, and won “most athletic” senior year along with our high school football quarterback. However, I rode off my athleticism and piggy backed off my parents’ faith. If you’ve been reading some of my other blog posts, you’ll remember it was high school that I grew in skepticism. I never doubted God’s existence or Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, but certainly had a lot of questions. Many in which western evangelism neglected to address or swept under the rug, or so it seemed. I ended up going to college and made a shipwreck of my faith and myself in some ways, if I’m honest.
So what would I tell my younger self? Below I’ve made a few important pointers that I’d tell young Molly. I hope this helps you- whoever reads this. I also hope this can be passed down and shared with the younger women of our generation.
1.) It’s okay not to be super feminine. Molly, I know girl; you are trying so hard to put on more makeup than you care for. You’re trying to wear clothes that you hate. Yes, dressing up for the occasions is fun but you’d rather wear your jeans, the nice top you bought from American Eagle, and either your chuck taylors or vans. By the way (side note); chuck taylors and vans are currently a trend amongst the female gender right now. I know: we’ve been trying to tell these women since middle school.
I know that society and unfortunately the church, played a huge part in dictating gender identifications and expressions. However here’s the thing; God created us each uniquely and He actually wants you to wear your jeans and chucks. How do I know this? Because 30 year old Molly still rocks that style today. Also, it’s okay that other girls take a more feminine approach to their look; God created them uniquely as well. But you eventually get the hang of the cocktail dress attire, and makeup. You realize it’s not so bad after all.
2.) Mom was right about all the boys you crushed on and chased after. You don’t marry a single one; including the ones you met in college. As you grow older and closer to Jesus, you eventually realize what it is that attracts you to a man. It’s his character, faith, perspective, and personality that you pulls you in. Notice I didn’t say anything about looks?
3.) The things of this world are not worth it. You eventually graduate high school and head off to college. As you do, you abandon the principals of your faith. You eventually find your “happiness” in partying, alcohol, marijuana, and hookups. You find your purpose and worth on the field hockey field- which ultimately lets you down. You’re not going to be the front page superstar you were in high school. You’ll struggle, and have more ups and downs than you can count. Though you’ll meet amazing friends; some whom you are still close to today. That’s probably the best part- your friends. Can I just tell you high school Molly, that the “kingdom” of the world the Enemy teased you with is not worth it? Emotional pain still exists the next day when you have a hangover waking up in someone else’s bed. Sure, you have drunken memories- many you can laugh about- but they never took away your dissatisfactions, struggles, or hurt.
Let me tell you though, this rebellion will not go to waste. You’re not a lost cause (I know high school Molly is thinking that right about now), which leads me to my next point.
3.) God is good and you eventually find out who you are. Remember all those questions you had? They eventually are answered and God reveals more of Himself to you. In fact, Jesus becomes your best friend for real this time. You unlearn everything you were taught growing up just to relearn who Jesus is at the core. You go through a deconstruction of your faith just to reconstruct your relationship with Him. You burn down everything you ever knew in the American Church only to find nothing but Jesus standing there.
You eventually find yourself, the prodigal daughter, back to God where you always belonged. You find out who you were really created to be. Passions you never thought you had, begin burning inside of you. You’re on fire for Jesus and you love the hell out of people. You speak up against injustice and for the oppressed- in the way the Holy Spirit guides you to. You eventually love the Church again but also use your voice for change and revival in areas that need it. You stop throwing stones at the Church, and you want to better it by helping build a longer table. You slowly begin to be at peace with who God created you to be; truly. You have seasons of unraveling only to find that God was stripping away things that were burdening you. You slowly become the person you were always created to be. And it never stops until you reach eternity.
4.) The unknowns and uncertainties of life aren’t so bad. Oh yes, control freak Molly- are you hyperventilating at the thought of this? You eventually surrender your future to God because you realize worrying and planning did nothing for you. It’s freeing. It’s mysterious. You’re not always good at it but God’s grace is always there to give you peace. We’ll hit this massive pandemic in the year 2020 caused by a complicated virus. You’ll be quarantined in your apartment by yourself in Austin, Texas for the most part. You’ll hate it but you’ll learn to surrender the illusion of control.
It’s a wild ride young Molly, but it’s so worth it.