Oh, to be 22 again and to have the knowledge I have today! When I was 22, I was teaching 5th grade in a public school in Slidell, LA. And I struggled that school year. I struggled with teaching 5th graders, struggled with who I was, and thought I knew everything. I was single and was in graduate school studying to be a reading specialist and
obsessing working on my career.
Since then I’ve gotten married, left public education, had two kids and homeschooled them from pre-school through high school. My life has done a complete 380 and I have changed from the inside out.
When I began this blog, one of my goals was to share some of the difficult life’s lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’ve had some challenges this last year and haven’t written much, but now is the time to start sharing. And so I decided to begin as Paul instructed Titus to teach the older women in Titus 2: 3-5
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
So in the spirit of Titus 2, these are the things I would tell my younger self:
- The Golden Rule is the most important rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. I’ve learned through the years that you never know who your boss will be and you never know who can assist you in the future.
- Comparison is the thief of joy. Teddy Roosevelt nailed it on the head when he said this. I’ve spent most of my life comparing myself to someone else. Someone will always be prettier, smarter, stronger, have more money, etc. than me YET I will be prettier, smarter, stronger, have more money, etc. than someone else. And at times I find myself comparing my life to others. I wonder what I’m missing out on. Am I doing things right? Do I measure up?
- You are not invincible. When we’re young, we tend to not take care of ourselves. We believe it won’t happen to us; we are the exception. We can do it all. I am a by-product of the 70’s and my theme song was “I AM Woman”. Well, I am here to tell you that you are not invincible, you can not do it all nor are you the exception. So eat right, exercise, moisturize every night, stay out of the sun, and do everything in moderation.
- God loves and accepts you just the way you are. This is similar to #1, but I think it’s harder to comprehend. God loves you, He really loves you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or haven’t, He loves you. He loves you in spite of your mistakes and shortcomings. He loves you whether you’re a good person or not. And He loves you no matter what life throws your way. This means that God is for you and does not punish you because of something you’ve done wrong.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let lose and have fun. Don’t get your panties up in a wad. Enjoy life, enjoy the season you are in right now, because it will pass. Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of life that we miss the moment. Let the house get a little messy, you can always clean it later. Take a sudden road trip. Spontaneity is good. So what if your to-do list is not finished, finish it tomorrow.
- Forgive. Forgive for yourself, not the person who wronged you. I know it’s hard and painful, but it is harder and more painful to let that junk stay in you heart and mind. And the quicker you can let go, the easier it is to forgive. The inability to forgive produces a poison in your spirit and will affect your future relationships.
- Do not go into debt except to buy a house and car (and maybe education-only when it is essential for a specific career goal). Debt is an awful thing. It is a short term fix to a long term problem. We finance our present with our future money. When we use credit cards, it stops us from depending on God and we begin to depend on Mr. Visa. And worse of all, one day it will catch up with you and it will take a LONGGGGGG time to pay off those blasted cards.
What would you tell your 22 year old self? I’d love to know.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.