Dear Younger Me…
In 2014, the band Mercy Me released the song “Dear Younger Me” on their album, “Welcome to the New,” written by Bart Millard and based on the struggles he went though in his abusive childhood. While not everyone has that same background, I think just about everyone can relate.
There are things in your past that you regret. Problems or addictions you’ve struggled with chronically for many years or most your life that as an adult you are just now really overcoming. Mistakes you’ve made that had lasting consequences. We’ve all been there. And sometimes you wish you could write your younger self a letter.
What would you say? Would you tell them everything? Would you just give some helpful guidance? Would your younger self even grasp what you are trying to warn them about, or would she just be in denial?
I do not know the answer to these questions, but I do know that we live in a reality where we can’t go back. There are not do-overs. But in Christ we are a new creation and are given a new heart. The old is gone and the new is here. He took the burden and consequences of our sins to the cross with Him, and he give us the gift of grace. He does not identify you by those mistakes, regrets, and struggles but by who you really are. Who you are made to be. A child of God. Created in His image. Cherished. Beloved. Full of purpose.
That being said, I think there are healthy ways you can look back. You can see things more objectively and understand how sin has entrapped you, and how you can move on and help others to do the same. So why not indulge a bit in the fantasy? What would you write in a letter to “younger me?” ‘
Here is what I would write…
Dear younger me,
I know that you feel different from everyone else. You don’t feel like you fit in, and people don’t accept you for who you are. And you know, maybe the people you’ve been hanging around really don’t really care about you as much as they should. But you know what? Shame on them.
Find new people. Get out of the church you are in. Stop listening to the voices that tell you that your are strange and unlovable if you have never made out with a guy before. They are wrong. And you should pray that they come to see the truth one day. There are people living a better lifestyle, listening to God’s voice and not what the world is saying, that will love you, will affirm you, will lead you to do great things and live the life you were always meant to. Find them. Pray that God would help you.
And a couple more things…
For one, you need to set up boundaries in your romantic relationships. You have so much more to learn about what love really is, and if you give too much of yourself physically to someone too soon, you will regret it. You are worth the wait.
Finally, you need to know that it is by grace that you have been saved through your faith, not your good works… and more than that, God’s grace is sufficient for you. You will not ever be able to get it all right based on your own efforts. But God does not want you to. That burden is too much for you, and He wants to carry it for you. That is what real faith is.
Older, somewhat regretful me.
Your testimony, your story, it matters. I know it is easy when there is pain in your past and even in your present to not want to look at it. To not want to say “why? How? And what do I do now?” It is even harder to admit your short-comings to others, but I think it is also so healthy. So healing. And something we have to have the courage to do. God will use your story. Believe that.