Have you heard MercyMe’s latest song, Dear, Younger Me? The song basically says if I knew then what I know now I would have let God have his way in my life. But, the song continues, it’s okay because it’s not too late to do that very thing—let God have his way in my (and your) life.
The first time I heard the song come over the radio I was driving back to my home town to attend the funeral of a life-long friend. Given the fact that I was already in a frame of mind that was thinking back, the song just added to my ‘mood’ and I would like to share some of my thoughts with you now.
If I knew then what I know now…
I would have been nicer to Linda
Linda, her mom, and her younger siblings joined our church when Linda and I were ten or eleven years old. Her dad didn’t join because he was in prison for beating her mom. In the beginning Linda was fun to play with but it didn’t take long for me to realize Linda did things to get attention—things like stealing and lying. So what did I do? I dropped her like a hot potato instead of being kind to her. I know there’s not a lot an eleven year-old can do, but I could have been nicer… much nicer. By the time we were fourteen she was drinking, smoking, and pregnant.
I was so focused on making sure she didn’t lead me down the wrong path that I forgot about my responsibility to try to get her to keep walking/living in the right direction.
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)
I would have shared the advice I got with my friends
A very special Christian lady in my life took the time to personally invest herself in my life in some pretty amazing ways. But one of, if not the most amazing thing she did was tell me this:
Whenever or if you are tempted to drink, get physical with a boy, use drugs, sneak out of the house, go to a party Jesus wouldn’t go to, or even do something to someone you wouldn’t want done to you, I want you to remember this… someday you’re going to grow up and have kids of your own.
When they get to be the age you are now you’re going to warn them against doing all these things. When that happens they’re going to ask you if you did any of these things and trust me, you want to be able to look them straight in the eye and say, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t do those things but I still had a great time growing up so I know you can, too.”
I took her words to heart. So when all four of my children did just exactly what she said they would, I was able to look them in the eye and tell them exactly what she told me to say.
So what’s the problem? I wish I would have shared that advice with my friends instead of putting myself on a pedestal and feeling like I was better and holier than they were.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
I wouldn’t be such a people-pleaser
I was a good kid, but I was also (and still am, in many ways) a textbook example of a middle child. So what did I do? I went out of my way to try to please my parents, my teachers, and just about everyone else in my life.
I wanted—craved—positive attention. I wanted people to see me as cute, sweet, a good girl, smart, talented, and everything else I thought they wanted me to be. I memorized Bible verses, had all the right answers, and did my best in school. I was meticulous with my hair, makeup, and clothes, and was the ‘sweet little darling’ to all the old people at church.
You might be thinking, so what? What’s so wrong with being sweet and kind? What’s so wrong with knowing the Bible and doing your best in school? What’s so wrong with taking pride in your appearance? The answer to those questions is nothing. Nothing, as long as your motives are pure—and mine weren’t.
My motives were for me—not God. I was so focused on pleasing other people that I fooled myself into believing that pleasing everyone else was how I pleased God. Thankfully I now know this is not true.
Now I know that my number one goal in life (and yours, too) should be to please God, because pleasing God is really all that matters. Besides, when your number one goal is to please God, everything else falls into place.
We all make mistakes and it’s next to impossible to go through life without a few regrets here and there, but by and large I was blessed to have some really great people in my life who poured into me and did their best to make sure that when I stand where I am standing now; looking back at my younger me, I have few regrets, countless good memories, and the hope of heaven for all eternity. And THAT is what we should all be sharing with young and old alike so that they can have it, too.
~ By Darla Noble
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