A Letter to My Younger Self: Salvation will be the focal point of your life.
Congratulations on turning 17, finishing high school, and waiting to join a reputable university. You have done well!
I know high school was such a fun experience for you: the life-long friends you have made, you excelled in whatever you put your mind to in your studies, the mantras you lived by: ‘It is never that serious’ and ‘Que sera, sera,’ got you through the difficult subjects, and beyond that, you had an exciting time discovering yourself through co-curricular activities like dancing. I should add that these mantras will change, eventually. Ha!
Evey, you have four months before joining University. Please hearken to this:
1. Salvation is not what you think.
Honey, I know you served in the Christian Union (CU) as the prayer secretary, but do not fool yourself that you are born again. I do not blame you, though. You just don’t understand the meaning of salvation, yet! All along, salvation was taught and explained as ‘praying the sinner’s prayer and sinning no more.’ There was no implicit mention of the critical tenets of the Gospel: God’s holiness & justice as a backdrop of our eternal damnation, man’s inherent sinfulness & guilty state, Christ’s perfect sacrifice that satisfied God’s wrath and reconciled us to God, and man’s response to this truth either by faith or hardening of the heart.
I know you tried to stop lying, sleeping in class, submitting your assignments late, etc., but you fell short, innumerable times, and that’s because these behavioral changes should be due to your faith in Christ and not prerequisites to your faith.
In your last year of Uni, however, you will meet a lecturer who will explain the tenets of salvation aforementioned, and God will save you. Your transition from death to life will not be dramatic. You will surrender to God in your hostel room, alone, while crying because you will realize how much of a wretched person you are and how good and holy God is. You won’t fight God’s irresistible grace as he knocks at your heart’s door, because as the word suggests, it is irresistible!
Being saved from God’s wrath, by God himself, and for himself will be the focal point of your life, moving forward. Everything else will flow from this. Be thankful!
2. Father wounds and self-awareness.
Evey, it is unfortunate that you have father wounds yet fortunate because when you eventually figure this out, you will get to action to become better. Knowing your weaknesses is powerful because they will no longer have a stranglehold on you. These weak points will not define you. Instead, you will determine the direction you take in your life as you become self-aware, one of the most crucial trajectories that you will embark on in a few years. In the meantime, prepare yourself mentally for a journey of learning and unlearning. You will have to change the wounded lenses you view life with because you see the world as you are.
A hint on what you will grapple with will include understanding and accepting that God is not like your earthly father. He will never desert you. You will learn to go to him with every nitty-gritty concern that you will have. But the one you will wrestle with the hardest is that he cares for you even when he allows life to sucker-punch the daylights out of you! (Read the first post you ever published on this struggle here).
However, you will learn these indispensable truths, surrounded by a fantastic community. Eventually, you will heal from your father’s wounds, forgive your earthly father, and start praying for him continually, especially for salvation.
Take note that your father’s wounds will inform so many aspects of your life, including your relationships. Searching for answers on your behavior, you will end up meeting a fantastic therapist through this journey of self-awareness, and you will both walk through the lowest of valleys and the highest peaks of mountains. He will also cheer you on in your salvation journey. It will be an enthralling journey of discovering yourself. Brace yourself!
3. Be kind to yourself.
For the longest time, you will try to suppress your feelings, second-guess yourself on most decisions you will make regarding your life, and question why you are the way you are.
Dear Evey, in all this, remember to be kind to yourself. Unlearn to suppress your feelings because your feelings matter, and learn how to communicate them healthily. You are the way you are because you’re a sinner, and life has been throwing curveballs at you that have/will dent you. The curveballs are not a surprise to God but part of his plan in sanctifying you after your salvation. Trust your maker.
For mistakes made, there are second chances, so stop second-guessing yourself. Listen and learn from those who have gone before you. Experience does not have to be your teacher!
Key things to abide by as you learn to be kind to yourself: Since your feelings matter, they are a gauge and not a guide. Your feelings should report the state of your heart and not dictate your actions. All issues about your life are in God’s hands, and he is working them for your good because you love him, and he has called you according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Even though life has wounded you, God will work through these wounds to heal you as he makes you more Christ-like. Hang in there!.
You will land spectacular jobs that will entail traveling. Have fun on those trips: go sightseeing, try out the traditional dishes in those countries, visit their tourist attraction sites while marveling at God’s magnificence, buy souvenirs, take photos, etc.
From your salary, save up, invest wisely for the returns will cushion you on rainy days and dry seasons ahead, and, most importantly, serve God with your mammon for you are nothing but a steward of everything you have since it is God-given.
Give thanks in all things, Evey, because these are all privileges that you do not deserve, but through God’s grace and favor, you have them.
5. Live and love in light of eternity.
Mobile phones are already a huge hit, and you already have one. Honey, learn to put your phone down and live in the moment. When you are with people, talk to them, listen to them, find out how they are doing. Being people-oriented is more important than always scrolling through your phone.
Love like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, you will get burnt by love, but it is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. C.S. Lewis, an author that you will grow to love, avers:
“Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements.”
So take the risk of loving others. Be vulnerable, for it takes strength to humbly show others who you are: masks removed, gloves off. Instead of holding the things of this world like your job, material possessions, etc. dearly, embrace people by loving them in word and deed. Be present! Your will to love others is not your own, Evey. It is the enablement of the Holy Spirit since you love because God first loved you.
Reciprocally, you will be loved well by your friends, siblings, nieces, nephews, and, most importantly, your youth’s husband. So really, you have nothing to lose! 😊😊😊😊
In it all, I’m cheering for you. Keep on keeping on. Take each day as it comes while doing the next thing. Seek to trust God with all your might! Despite whatever comes your way, praise Him in all things.