Note to (old) self

Not long ago, as I organized a pile of junk, an old box from high school caught my eye. Of course, after finding a treasure like this, it’s impossible to keep cleaning; instead, I plopped down and started looking through old notebooks and journals. There, stuck inside my senior scrapbook, was a sheet of paper titled “New Year’s Resolutions.” Here are the top four resolutions, straight from a seventeen year old’s hand:

1)      Lose fifteen pounds. (I mean it, Ava! Do it this time! Stop eating and start exercising!)

2)      Get a man. (Well, at least get a date. Doing #1 will help #2 happen.)

3)      Stop biting my nails. (Will a boy ever want to hold your hand with gross fingers?)

4)      Be more outgoing. (Seriously, who in your math class even knows who you are?)

Here I was, almost thirty years later, reading ancient resolutions through tears. The poor author of that list—me!—broke my grown-up heart. She was hard on herself, wasn’t she? Teen Ava saw other girls living the dream: skinny bodies, devoted boyfriends, manicured hands. They (the “normal” girls) laughed with their Homecoming Queen BFF’s. Their hair never frizzed, and their parents were cool. Oh, if she only knew….

So today I’m giving advice to that seventeen year old list maker. Yep, I’m going back in time and making a new set of resolutions–smarter ones, realistic ones, Godly ones. Here’s what my future self knows for sure:

1) Lose fifteen pounds.  Be good to your body. Take care of God’s temple by eating healthy food and building strong muscles. That’s all God wants, your body requires, and your one-day boyfriend/husband desires. (The pressure’s off! Now throw away that fashion magazine, walk briskly to the bakery and enjoy a whole-wheat muffin!)

2) Get a man. Forget boys for awhile. Right now, God wants you to focus on Him alone. Consider this a special invitation because it is. So relax–you are perfectly normal, attractive, boyfriend worthy–and one day God will send one to snap you up. Until then, simply know that you’re a great catch who is completely satisfied with her loving Lord.

3) Stop biting my nails. Take a deep breath. Full of anxiety? Lots of pressure? God promises (and I’ve seen it myself) that it’s going to be fine. Just focus on today and move in the right direction. Tomorrow will fall into place. You’re not in charge of the world, but you know who is; He handles the big things well. Give them to God, and let those cuticles rest.

4) Be more outgoing. Just be yourself. So what if you’re not the star of the show? Or the funniest person at the party? You were specially made to show Jesus–His kindness, truth, and hope. Just do that, one on one, exactly like you are. Well, exactly like you are but better: God changes us daily, gradually molding us into His image. Sweet.

Ah, these are New Year’s resolutions I can get behind! Wherever you are in your walk with God, please know that He has a plan, a purpose, and a promise. No worries–Just relax and fall in love with Him; it’ll all be okay. That’s what I wish my old self had known. That’s what I want you to know in 2011. It’s the truth. And it will set you free.


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