Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Letter to the 20-something Me*

Dear 20-something Gail,  

Good news!  Today I started to write a list of things my newly turned 60 year-old wanted to do in the next five years and discovered I could only think of 3 things that I would really like to do that I haven’t done yet.  So that’s good news for you at the age of twenty-something. You get to do so many of the things you dream of doing and you're not the total loser you sometimes feel you are.

I thought the first sentence of this letter would be “What are you thinking?!”  That would be in reference to being such a perfectionist and also insisting things be done YOUR way all the time.  It takes courage, but letting go of the idea you must never be wrong will free you from the fear of failure and release you from the prison of perfectionism.

But it also has to do with your spiritual condition.  Instead of spending so much time trying to “do” things for God, try spending more time alone with the Father.  If Jesus found it necessary to spend time alone with His Father every day, do you really think you can manage without it?  The day you put into practice the words of Ron Dunn “Decide now that you will never again go to bed without reading God’s word” will be major, a life-changing, spiritual renewal.  Get serious about a daily quiet time.  Your life and your walk with God will be transformed into something beautiful that will sustain you in life.

Ladies Bible Study Fellowship will change your life, challenging you and growing you into a woman who LOVES God’s word and studying the Bible becomes a way of life for you.  Keep on going.

Guess what?  Even though in college you didn’t have the courage to pursue music as a career, by sheer persistence and availability you do manage to have a life filled with music, singing, leading choirs in churches, high school and community musicals, and even become a partner in a private studio.  So hang in there doing what you love.  God has provides opportunities you could never imagine.

Don’t worry so much about money.  God takes care of His children and you are His daughter.  God brings amazing opportunities to always work with friends.

More good news—that sweet guy you married because he was so nice and so hard to argue with is still the same sweet guy today.  Although you did manage to find ways to argue and the even the whole “peace at any price” thing did get annoying, you are both so stubborn that divorce is never really an option. 

Show your love for Rick more in words of support (his “love language”), respect and admiration for how he does his job instead of trying to tell him how to do it.  Brag about him.  Keep up your fierce defense of him always.

Forget about the disappointments, the hurts and mistakes. Hold on to the joy and fun. Keep on laughing together and being silly. Your marriage, at 40 years and counting, will be stronger and happier than ever.

20-SomethingGail, please realize that people show their love in many different ways.  The criticism you feel from your in-laws is just them treating you like a well-loved member of the family.  It's really a compliment.  BTW, things get MUCH better after the first grandchild.

Good for you for waiting to have children until you were ready.   Your children are the light of your life, but you will never regret that you waited.

Be easy to please as a mom, a friend, a teacher and a wife.  It’s a hard job, but God will move you next door to a wonderful friend who will model great parenting and become a permanent part of your life, blessing you with her wisdom and friendship.

About being a mom:
Be a thermostat, setting the climate in your home, not a ther-MOM-meter, acting hot and cold to everything around you.  The day you realize it’s up to YOU to set the attitude each moment, you and all the kids have a lot more fun!  You can act happy even when you don’t feel like it.  Believe me, the benefits are great.

There is some bad news—the hard parts of life really are necessary.  Once you are through them, you’ll be a stronger, better and more compassionate woman.  Sometimes your heart will break. Turn to Jesus and trust in God.  God loves the broken-hearted.  He is near the crushed in spirit. He will hold you and carry you through.

Start a journal.  Sorry to say it but your long-term memory stinks and time goes flying by.  A journal will help you remember the good and sort out the difficult.

Get over having your birthday in December.  You’re going to spend Dec 16 at so many rehearsals, work parties and performances you may as well accept it now. Whining is not becoming.  However, it IS okay to insist that birthday presents be wrapped in birthday paper.

Never sit on the washing machine and stretch your arm over your head trying to change a light bulb.  Just trust me on this one.

So 20-somethingGail, the best advice I can give you is to look for and embrace the love that surrounds you from your God, your husband, family and friends.  Let your life be ruled by that love and not by all the “what if” worries and fears that you struggle with.  The many things you're afraid of will never happen, so let go of fear and hold on to love.

You have the love of a good man, amazing, life-long friends, a dysfunctional, but intensely loving family, and most of all, an awesome God and Savior.

Remember “Write your sorrows in sand and your joys in stone.” 

“The days are long, but the years are short”.  So just be sure to show up each day ready to enjoy God’s gift of life.

See you in 40 years or so.

posted by 60-something Gail Smith

*My thanks to Cassie Boorn for sharing her great blog and ideas with the world.  Check out her blog for more letters from women to their 20-something selves. http://cassieboorn.com/about-me/

7 comments:

  1. Gail--20something or 60something, you have a gift! Thank you for bringing me tears, laughter and Godly wisdom in this post.

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  2. Thanks so much for the encouraging words Robin. Transparency was harder then I thought it would be, but it was a good exercise.

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  3. Love it, Gail! Just beautiful. I wish the 60-year-old Gail could have talked with the 20-year-old Marie, too.

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  4. Thanks for the kind words, Marie.
    I'll be looking forward to reading your letters to your's and Robin's 20-something selves sometime.

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  5. Wow that was incredibly inspiring.

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  6. Thanks Krista, your words are a blessing to me.

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  7. Quiet times with God are great. I look forward to my time alone with God every day. I use the "Today In The Word" devotional from Moody Bible Institute along with reading my Bible. And how could I ever forget in these quiet moments to be led by the Holy Spirit? Thank you for a good article.

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