10 Brutally Honest Truths I Would Tell My Younger Self

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Being a mom changes you. In my case, being a mom of girls has radically changed me. This is actually me on the left of this photo with my two childhood BFF's Lindsay & Courtenay :)

When I think about how I want to raise my girls, there are usually two areas that I think about: that they love & follow Jesus and that their beliefs about themselves would be rooted in love, hope & strength. I want them to believe in God and believe in themselves in a way that seemed out of reach for me as a child.

So as I reflect on what I want my own daughters to know as they grow up to be strong women, I'm thinking about what truths would have helped me as a young girl...

10 Truths for my Younger Self

  1. God is real and He loves you.
  2. Life is not fair. The sooner you accept that as a positive thing, the sooner you'll feel peace.
  3. You do not need to explain yourself. It's ok if people judge you poorly; their opinion does not define you.
  4. Choosing not to make good choices out of spite to authority is punishing you, not them.
  5. Keep being you, even if your best friend thinks you're crazy.
  6. Isolation is a poor form of preservation. Choose to let people in.
  7. Honesty really is the best policy.
  8. Accept consequences and criticism as learning experiences.
  9. Very few people in life will ever take the time to really get to know you. That's all you need, so keep those people close.
  10. Plan your future as if your life will actually turn out splendidly.

I was reading a message from John Piper the other day and I'd like to share it here as a bonus truth:

You have wearied the LORD with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?" "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." (Malachi 2:17-3:6 NIV)

It does not say in verse 2 that he is like a forest fire, or like an incinerator's fire. It says that he is like a refiner's fire. A forest fire destroys indiscriminately. An incinerator consumes completely. But verse 6 says, "I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed—you are not destroyed."

A Word of Warning and a Word of Hope He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.

It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper "fear and trembling" in the process of becoming pure. We learn it from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it's a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don't fool around with it.

But it does say, he is like a REFINER'S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. (John Piper, desiringgod.org)

Knowing now that God uses pain and affliction to refine me, not consume or destroy me, gives me hope even now as an adult. Pain has a purpose and I am slowly learning how to leverage pain in my life to be used for my good and to make a difference in other people's lives.

What would YOU tell your younger self if you had the chance?

LifeTaryn Nergaardfamily