This week for small group, the following three questions were sent out to be thinking about for our meeting tonight. I journaled them and after watching a You Tube video entitled, “To my 16 year old self” about skin cancer, I decided that the answers are probably better shared to hopefully prevent some other youths from making the same mistakes I did. So, I present you with a genuine picture of my young teenage years and beyond.
What if you could go back to and talk to your 18-year old self, as you were just about to enter adulthood? At 18 most of my worldview for holiness, purity and relationship with Christ was already solidified. I think to be of true help to “my 18 year old self”, I would have needed to vision cast from birth. Not that it isn’t an appropriate time to recast a vision for these things, I just know for me, personally, the damage to a biblical worldview of them had already been done.
Knowing what you know now, what vision would you cast for yourself in holiness, purity, and your relationship with Christ? I wish I could have presented (my very young self) a vision of guarding my heart in a way that honors Christ. To explain that purity is about more than just sex but involves thoughts, motives, emotions, and faithfulness to someone that at that point in life I had never even met. I wish I could have told my 12 year old self that over the next 6 years I would in my head “try on” over ten guys as husbands, “playing house” with them in my imagination, doodling what our married name would be all over notebooks, writing out our children’s names and fantasizing about what they would look like. I wish I could have explained that these activities, while seemingly harmless, are the very things that make it impossible to follow the advice given repeatedly in the Song of Solomon, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,by the gazelles or the does of the field,that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” I would warn myself not to ever start reading the romance novels I would be given for Christmas at 13 years old, explaining that fantasizing about someone other than my husband, even fictional, will not aid “guarding my heart” for the one I would covenant only to love. I would paint a picture for me that the best romance story ever written is the one God writes for my life and cannot be found in lust of youth, the pages of a novel or the scenes of a romantic comedy film. As far as relationship with Christ I would tell my young self not to waste time! I would tell middle schooler Jen that sleep, books, pouring over fashion magazines, and worrying about who would be at youth group or who I would sit with at lunch will only serve to distract me from anything meaningful, and absolutely would not matter to me ten years down the line. I would challenge myself to read the bible more than novels, talk to God more than my friends on the phone, and to serve His people more than myself. I would also warn myself NEVER to get on the poms squad in highschool and to use my college years to develop character and godliness more than a portfolio that I would never end up using anyhow. I would explain that gracefulness is more beautiful to God in my heart than on a stage. I would tell myself that one day I would meet a man named Paul, who will remind me so much of the Paul in the bible that perhaps I would be better served to study Paul the apostle instead of the blond haired boy in the seat in front of me. J
What vision would you cast for your singleness, or your marriage, fatherhood or motherhood. Now, thinking forward, what vision will you cast for the rest of your life? The vision I would cast is what biblical womanhood looks like: “reverent in behavior, not slanderers, to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”. I would urge myself to work on developing those virtues than selfish ambition. The vision I would cast for the rest of my life is that virtue is caught more than taught and while I need to be teaching my children what marriage, fatherhood and motherhood look like biblically, they will learn more by my example. Since I am incapable of representing biblical womanhood well, my prayer is that I would be continually on my knees asking the Spirit to work in my life despite myself.