Yeah, girl, you! The introvert with huge social anxiety. The reader of Nancy Drew mystery novels under the covers at night with a flashlight. Get ready to learn about your future faith.
Dear Younger Me,
Yeah, girl, you! The introvert with huge social anxiety. The reader of Nancy Drew mystery novels under the covers at night with a flashlight. The tennis playing rollerblading singing-creating-dancing friend. The crafter, experimenter, and nature lover. The Primary-and-Young Women’s-going child of God. Yes, you.
I’m wondering what I could tell you that would smooth the way, that would let you know, deep down, that things are going to be okay. Because, honestly, by 32 you have been through some, well, stuff. Like years of crippling depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. A brain injury that also broke your heart and dashed your dreams for the life you were hoping to live. Despair you did not know was possible and still are not sure you can recover from. You’ve also found healing.
Doubt is not wrong
You’ve seen your fair share of doubt. You’ve lost and found faith more times than you can count, sometimes many times a day. Back and forth, volley and return, sway and swish, up to the mountaintop and down to the valley. You’ll learn and forget and learn again that the armor of light can dim any darkness, that as a child of God your birthright is to smite the destroyer with all the goodness you can muster and a whole lot more grace than you can yet conceive. That sometimes the destroyer is within and not to be believed, not to be trusted.
Let me give you a solid hint: it’s not wrong to doubt and it does not make you weak. It’s part of your process of growing in faith. Let me say it again. It is not wrong to doubt and it does not make you weak. You are meant to learn by proving contraries, opposition in all things, knowledge and experience, good and evil, light and darkness. How else would you learn to discern the right way? This is part of your particular challenge of self-mastery—to sort the mental and spiritual wheat from the chaff, the thought-gold from the dross. To choose God.
Get ready to choose faith
You will come to love the pilgrims, the journeyers, the seekers, those who God calls to anyway even though they’re headed the wrong direction. Your spark of faith will burn strong, and it will splutter when the winds of opposition grow fierce. You are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing in the fire not consumed. You will see the fourth standing next to you whose form is as the Son of God. You will try to have the faith of “But if not,” always wondering if that really will be required of you or if you will be healed as others have said you would be.
Kindle your faith again and again.
Dear younger me, I could never deprive you of the opportunity to grow even if I tried. Nothing I could say would change your path, I don’t think. Even if I told you all you needed to know then, you couldn’t understand until you met those obstacles face to face on the road. This is by design. This is for you, so you can sort through the many contradictions of mortality and find your path home.
Christ is with you
I will say this: You won’t travel alone. You will have grace. You will have Christ, the strongest friend to walk with you all your days. He will give you His Strong Strength when yours falters. He will give you His Strength even before you know you need it. You can call on Him any time—even when you’re cursing and mad, especially when your last spark of faith has spluttered yet again, truly when you’ve discovered your only hope is in Him.
Dear younger me, you’re still learning, even at 32.