Dear 15 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

Dear 15 Year Old Me,

I know you jumped on the scales this morning thinking all that running had been paying off, and you’d actually gained two kilos.

Let me tell you something. Muscle really does weigh more than fat. That’s not just something your teachers and parents have made up. You just put on two kilos of awesomeness. Two kilos of healthy. Two kilos of fitness. Own it.

Do yourself a favour. Throw the scales out, or put them in a place you won’t see them (if you think Mum would kill you for throwing them out). The only reason we need scales is to make sure our baggage is under 20kg when flying and to weigh our dogs. Checking the scales can become an addiction that will sit heavy on your back and be really hard to break in later years. Trust me.

If you think weighing yourself more than once a week isn’t excessive, it is, for someone your age. I now don’t even keep scales in the house because of the slippery slope it has become for me. If you look great and feel great, why do you need a number?

Don’t let you those models on TV and in magazines make you think that you have to be stick thin to be attractive. Did you know that half the time (or possibly more) someone behind the scenes, after the photoshoot is complete, is going through and sucking the fat out of those models’ legs with a Photoshop tool? This image of perfection they sell you is false, unattainable. Don’t be their fool. Embrace the body God gave you and work at appreciating it and taking care of it to the best of your ability.

Note to self: starving the body is not taking care of it! Have you ever heard of something called ‘starvation mode’? If we want to turn to facts and science here, (well, summarised facts) depriving yourself of food can actually stop you from losing weight. The body thinks it’s not going to have access to much food for a while so it retains all the fat that it can, in order to ‘survive’. So, probably not the best idea.

Everyone should be their healthy body weight and not made to feel bad about it. For those who are naturally a size 6-8, fantastic. Do you, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. If you’re curvy and healthy, great.

If you’re aiming for anything, aim for healthy and fit. That is your best you and something your body will thank you for in years to come.

Your choices matter. Think about how your decisions today are going to affect you in the long run. A great book I’ve read recently by Lysa TerKeurst (and referenced in a previous article) called The Best Yes has taught me a helpful concept called “chasing down your decisions”. It’s where you look at what you’re choosing now and the path that each decision is leading you down. What kind of habit am I making? What will this decision help make me into? FYI, obsessively checking the scales every week, every day, twice a day (slippery slope) leads to a paranoid person with very low self-esteem and a feeling that they are never good enough.

So ignore the scales and do whatever your body needs to stay healthy. I’ve gotten into a habit of that now (I weigh myself maximum once a month, sometimes not even that) and my confidence is at an all-time high (maybe almost too high—who knows).

Have a great time being you and make this year a year of change in mind-set. Because when the mind changes, everything changes.

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You

Image: https://noothername412.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/9231a-fitness2bgirls2bto2bget2bbeauty2bbody.jpg
Sourced: 14 April 2016

 

 

Dear 13 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

 

Dear 13 Year Old Me,

How’s Year 7 treating you?

Just a few things on who you are as a person, because I remember having this on my mind at your age. Let me think back…

As an eight-year-old, it seemed so obvious who I was. I’d sit mocking as I watched movies with confused teenagers saying, “Who am I?” thinking that that was the dumbest question ever. I wanted to say, “Did you lose you memory or something? Look at your birth certificate!”

If someone had have asked me at that age who I was, the answer was too easy. Well, my name’s Lil. I like to dance and read and draw. I’m a Christian, so I go to church. Give me a hard question.

Remember that?

But identity is more than a name because now you’re asking the very same question. Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I belong? What do I want?

When did this question become so complex?

This is the point where most people choose a source for their identity, something or someone to define them and tell them who they are. I’m sorry to say, but you choose wrong.

There are a few options that people look to to learn their identity. As kids it’s usually parents, but now that you’re 13 there are a few other prime candidates:
– School/achievements/grades
– Friends
– Sport
– (These days) the internet/social media – and the amount of likes you get
– Boys
> Jesus.

Can I strongly suggest that you don’t choose the second last option, like I know you’re about to? Of all the sub-par options, this is the worst. The reality is that if you don’t find your identity, your validation and your sense of value from Jesus (the genuine source), you will get it from another avenue (a counterfeit source). From experience, this is a let-down at best, long-term damaging at worst.

If you’re asking yourself how much of a big deal that is, ask yourself, is an orange Monopoly $500 as good as even a purple $5 note that is genuine? Which can you take to the bank? Monopoly money’s fun to play around with, but don’t expect it to get you anywhere in life.

I know it probably won’t change your 13 year old mind but I’m asking you as a friend not to do this. Please. For our sake. Does knowing you’ll spend years undoing the damage make a difference at all? Just to give you an idea, the process of Jesus healing you from all the rubbish you’re about to pick up takes 4 painful years, till you arrive at the age of 22, where I am now, nine years later.

So if you want to build your life on something, how about the only true Rock?

The bible (Matthew 7:24-27) says that building on anything other than Jesus is foolish (stupid) and will end up crashing down as soon as a big enough storm comes.

So, instead of Instagram, the arms of a really cute guy, your soccer or dance team, your friends, search God’s Word for what Jesus says about you, because He’s the only one you can always, without fail, rely on to tell you the truth.

And isn’t truth what you long for? What you desperately need.

Start with a few verses like, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14) and “you will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand” (Isaiah 62:3).

How about Galatians 3:26? “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”

Choose well.

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You  xo

 
Images (sourced 3 April 2016)
1: http://yukaichou.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Identity.jpg
2: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/251920172877401567/
3: http://www.soulshepherding.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Identity-in-Christ1.jpg
4: http://quotesgram.com/quotes-about-identity-in-christ/

 

Dear 11 year old me: the things I wish I’d known

Dear 11 Year Old Me,

So you’re about to start high school. What an eventful six years.

This is when it starts for a lot of people, the wishing and waiting, so don’t feel bad about it. It’s a common trap. You want to be older, so you can be independent, can date, drive. Whatever. But think about this. If now at 11, you wish to be 16, and then once you get to be 16, you’re hanging out for 18. Then when you can finally drive, you wish you were married, then kids, then retirement. Then you’re at the end of your life and you spent the whole time wishing to be somewhere else. What a waste.

Be present. Spend time with special people around you and really listen to them. Find out what your younger sister’s favourite colour is. Really connect. Appreciate the season you’re in because, news flash, you can never be in any season apart from the one you’re in. And you can never get this season back. Ever. So you can either go through life with a dissatisfied soul, making the people around you feel like they’re not quite enough and ripping them off from having you really there, or you can engage. Don’t rob people of the joy of your presence.

Some people take decades to learn this lesson, and I know you learn it eventually, but learning it as quick as possible saves you a lot of regret.

I know you think your life will really start when you become an adult but don’t wait until you’re older to serve Jesus. Allow him to use you now. The bible talks about good works that God has planned in advance for us to do (Ephesisans 2:10). I used to think of that as over the course of my whole life. Thanks to a great book I’ve read recently by Lysa TerKeurst called The Best Yes I now wake up in the morning and think, “Jesus, which works do you have prepared for me to walk in today?” And then I actively look for them. I do it this way because I don’t want to miss God’s opportunities. I want to be present at all the appointments He’s set up for me. How exciting to walk with Him in this creative, immediate way, and I feel more alive than ever as I accept these invitations from my Heavenly Father.

Before I sign off, parents. Do yours bug you sometimes and seem not to get you?
Just so you remember, here is a short list of some of the things they do for you:
-love you
-cook
-clean
-pay for everything
-help you with homework
-laundry
-drive you everywhere you need to go
-take care of you when you’re sick
-do the grocery shopping

I promise Mum and Dad didn’t pay me off to say this, but appreciate your parents.
A time will come where you have to do all this yourself and trust me, at 22, I realise living at home was absolute luxury.

Your parents are looking out for your best, and they are probably the two people in the world who most want you to do well. So listen to them. They are your biggest fans. If they’re telling you something, it can only be for your good. The bible says that the Lord disciplines those he loves, just as a father (parent) does (Proverbs 3:12).

Good luck finishing primary school!

Sincerely,

22 Year Old You

 

Image: http://36.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_may9atBqZz1qkyzjpo1_1280.jpg
Sourced 28 March 2016