After speaking at a women’s retreat this past weekend, I continue to think about the younger women who were there. ALL of those ladies were a blessing to me for various reasons, but I was impressed with the young women. I didn’t know many of their stories, but their presence there was an indication of their heart. I was impressed and then a bit jealous. I wish I had been that smart at their age. Every time I ran into them over the weekend, I bragged on them and cheered them on.
When talking to young ladies and younger girls, I find myself speaking with a hurried passion. I am not sure if it spills out of my mouth in that way, but I am so anxious and desperate to share things that equip our young ladies today. The mid forties have opened my eyes even more and as a mom of three girls, I pray they listen to my lessons from experience. I think back to so many women that were older than me who kept me focused, challenged me, and loved me along the ways of my failures. It is my turn to give back to the younger generation.
What would I want younger women to grasp early? This list would be the most important (according to Lisa Barron).
1. Your value is not found in who likes you or how popular you are. Your confidence needs to come from Jesus Christ.
2. Read the Bible and make that your source of truth. I am amazed at how many times my kids read something on the internet and believe it to be fact. Stay right side up by knowing what God’s Word says. He made the world. He knows how you need to live in it.
3. You do not need a guy to be somebody or to be complete. Everywhere we turn, the world screams that you have to have a man to complete you. You will stand before the Lord one day all by yourself. Psalm 146:3 “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.”
4. Make a list of what is super important to you when looking for a guy and DO NOT compromise on one thing until you meet him. Pray in the meantime.
5. Take better care of your health while you are young. Our bodies and our skin can be our focus when we are young. However, I would trade some of the earlier years to have time to work on maintaining my health along the way instead of trying to catch up now.
6. I would focus less on myself. When we are young, we are motivated to think about who we want to be and what we want to become. Goals and a vision are good, but I find that in the earlier years they often make you way too inward focused. Volunteer, serve others, and look for the opportunities to bless other people. Those are the memories I remember the most.
7. Time is still the greatest gift you can give. Nothing made me feel more special than when someone gave me their undivided time. That is still the case today. I find with the busyness of today and the mix of technology, we make less and less time for face to face relationships. It is hard to find time for that so we may need to cut something else out.
8. Journal. I am big on journaling. I have forgotten so many things as the years have gone on. Some I have prayed to forget. I have recently been writing a book and I would give anything if I had a record of some moments. It is not the record of the events themselves I wish I had, but the way I viewed things and how they made me feel. I have been writing in my journal for the last nine years and those words on paper have revealed so much about me and what God was doing in my life.
9. I would take risk. Understand me here…..I am not talking ridiculous risks. I am referring to what you would do if money wasn’t an object. Maybe it is a dream that you have labeled under “One day”. Go ahead and do it!
10. Do not try to be a people pleaser. There is no way possible to please all the people in your life. You will go crazy and be unsuccessful. This is where my relationship with Jesus has been so freeing. As long as I am doing what He wants, I can rest in knowing it is enough.
11. Laugh! Even in the difficult moments, find ways to laugh. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:13 “Even in laughter the heart may ache.” Some of my best feeling laughs were right in the middle of some of the deepest pain.
12. Family is important. When we are young we think our family doesn’t understand us or just wants to control us. That is actually LOVE. Do everything you can to maintain peace in your family. Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
13. Set boundaries in your life. You can be loving towards people without having to be their best friend. People do not automatically have permission to invade your life in unhealthy ways just because they want to. Communicate your boundaries so that others are clear and do everything you can to maintain them.
14. Some people in your life may be there for a season and that is okay. People come in and out of your life. A person who is no longer a big part of your life, doesn’t necessarily indicate the relationship was bad. It may be that person was simply in your life for a season.
15. Choose what is right, not always easy. Some decisions may seem easier at the time, but may have consequences later that end up more difficult than making the right decision in the first place.
16. When life gets hard, don’t hide. Isolation will weaken you and people can strengthen you. Bust your bubble and get out of it.
17. Failure is just fine. Mistakes are made by everyone. It seems easier for others to notice yours instead of their own. Face yours, learn from them and take the opportunity to set the example even in the midst of a big mess up.
18. Have manners. Ladies need to act like ladies. Chew with your mouth closed, stand up straight, do not have potty mouth, dress appropriately and sit like a lady. I don’t care what generation it is, those things are still classy and attractive.
19. Junk in will mean junk out. I used to think that I could do a good job of filtering the things that went into my brain and my heart. Be careful what you watch, what you listen to, and what you subject yourself to. This is key to protecting your thoughts and guarding your heart.
20. Stay pure until your are married. This may sound old fashion but I PROMISE you will be so glad that you did. Every little piece of yourself you give away is one less for your husband one day.
21. Look at your life as a story. Let God write it. It turns out better than you could ever write it yourself. Be sure you keep the perspective that you are not the main character in the story.
Feel free to add your own thoughts….these are simply my own suggestions!