You’re 14. You have zits on your nose, split ends and you wear t-shirts that say things like “Go against the flow” with a little Christian fish swimming on them. You have a boyfriend who drives a white scooter and a group of girlfriends who know how to giggle until late into the night. You eat cookie dough right out of the package and add extra butter to your macaroni and cheese because you don’t care yet what it will do to your thighs.
If I could take you out for coffee (well, maybe ice cream–you won’t start drinking coffee for two more years) there are some things I’d say to you. First of all, it doesn’t matter that you’re not popular. I know you stare longingly at the cool kids table at lunch sometimes. I know you’ve heard a snicker or two when you walk by certain groups in the halls. I know how you stand in front of the mirror and tilt your head from one side to the other hoping the reflection improves.
By not being popular you’re actually learning some pretty important things–how to love all kinds of people, how to have a tender heart for those on the outskirts, how to dream and explore instead of conform and confine. Your creativity is growing, although you can’t see it yet, and you’re not cool enough to want to crush it. Your older self thanks you.
Also, you don’t have to try so hard. I know you want to get it right–the grades, the youth group, the conversations by the locker. And when you don’t, you’re really tough on yourself. You are your own worst critic. Slow down, girl. Take a deep breath of grace. You haven’t quite figured this out yet…you’re human. You are going to mess up a lot. And it’s going to be okay. People want the real you–not the perfect good girl you think you have to be.
You’re going to grow up and it’s going to fly by. You’ll trade your bike for a car. Your t-shirts for TJ Maxx tops. Your diary entries about boys for a real live husband. It will be good and hard and beautiful and like nothing and everything you imagined.
Savor the moments.
Hold on to today.
Don’t wish away the now for the not yet.
Worry less. Laugh more.
Stay up late while you can.
Embrace grace and the Giver of it.
Most of all, dare to be He who made you.
You’re going to turn out just fine.
p.s. Those crazy clothes you’re wearing? Keep them because they are coming back in style in twenty years and people will call them vintage and pay lots of money for them. Yes, even the stirrup pants. It’s so wrong but it’s true.
Maybe you should write a letter to your teenage self too! If you do, link up with Emily today or maybe jump over there and read some other letters. It will make you laugh and probably cry and then check out her new book graceful, which released last week. It is a wonderful gift to young girls everywhere and something my teenage self wishes she could have read.