At a youth retreat this past weekend at which I spoke, I was asked what are the three things I’d say if I could go back and counsel myself as a teenager or young adult. After some thought, these were my top three, in descending order of importance:
#3 Enjoy this season of life – it might feel at times like you’ll be single forever. But it’s only for a season. And when you’re married, at times it might feel like you’ve been married forever! There are certain things that will only be available to you in this way now: a certain level of freedom, of time, of independence from obligations, of mobility. Enjoy your youth and your singleness if you’re single. Along with that, set long-term and short-term goals. Do something you’ve always wanted. (I had a dream to travel overseas to Europe when I was in high school. I got a job when I was sixteen and worked for eight months, saved all my money, and it happened, much to my parents’ surprise. It was wonderful, life-changing). Take this season to set a goal and see it through. Maybe it’s a missions trip, maybe it’s writing a book; or maybe it’s volunteering somewhere in your community. It’s likely that you’ll never have this much uninterrupted time again until you’re 65.
#2 Don’t idolize that relationship – it’s guaranteed to fail anyway if you do.
#1 Seek a greater revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is so much more incredible than you’ve even begun to imagine Him. Seek Him with all your heart, because everything you are longing for is in Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up the eyes of your heart to understand scripture, and ask Him for specific things, more than you can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart! (Psalm 37:4) Find your complete identity in Him. He is so exciting. He is such an adventure. He’s far more dazzling than any earthly relationship.
I believe that in forty years, if I am still on this earth, #1 will remain my top advice to myself!
How about you? What would you tell yourself, if you could somehow go back and speak to yourself as a youth or young adult?