Dear Me At Age 13

This is a letter I wrote to me at age 13. The letter is a series initiated by Emily Freeman to celebrate the release of her new book, Graceful. If you want to read more letters like this one click here.

Dear Me (at 13),

First of all, let my introduce myself.  I’m you at age 40.  Yes, you make it that far, and there’s still a bright future ahead of you.  I thought you could use some encouragement.  After all, 8th grade and the whole teenage thing can be a little awkward at times.  And while I know you strive to be cool, you often feel out-of-place.

Here’s the deal.  You need to relax a little.  Believe it or not, God has big plans for your life.  You will finish high school, and you will do quite well academically.  You won’t have any girl friends during this period of your life, but don’t sweat it.  You end up with an unbelievable wife.  Just be patient.  God is good.

You will run a season of Cross Country and of Winter Track.  You’ll hate it for the most part.  At age 40, you actually love to run.  You will run many races in your 30s including five half marathons and three marathons.  That’s 26.2 miles, and you actually find enjoyment in this pursuit.  It would be nice if you could put a little more effort into the running thing now, so it’s easier later.  Here’s the funny thing, both of your kids will actually go onto run Cross Country.

Kids?  Yep!  You have two amazing kids.  Your daughter (and oldest child) is amazing.  She’s a lot like you.  She’s highly driven to achieve.  She is so beautiful.  And she has an incredible heart for others.  Your son is great.  He is so talented.  He’s a sensitive kids (most of the time), and he will keep you on your toes.  Spend time with your kids (when that happens).  The time goes by so quickly.  Make the most of each and every opportunity you have with them.

You know how church is a big focus in your family now?  Well, church continues to be a major focus for you and your family.  Don’t be afraid to try something new and different?  I know you don’t like change, and you’re used to the tradition of church services at a Presbyterian churches.  You will end of up being active in a church that meets at a movie theater.  I know it sounds crazy, but this experience will stretch you in amazing ways.

Speaking of stretching, you eventually grow.  It doesn’t really start kicking in until the end of high school, but eventually you stretch to almost 6’6″.  And yes, you will dunk a basketball.  It’s pretty cool!  You’ll actually get your first dunk in a game when you’re future wife is in the stands watching.  Stretching becomes a major theme in your life.  You actually write a blog every day about how God is stretching you.  Oh, a blog is kind of like a journal on the computer that other people can read.  It goes up on this thing called the internet that everyone in the world can see.  I know you do pretty well in English, but it’s not your thing right now.  Pay attention now, because you eventually love to write.  Stick through honors English in high school.  Your senior year will be especially challenging, but you’ll get through it.

As for friends, some of your closest friends today are made over the next few years in high school.  You will stay in close contact with a few guys who you know through high school and church.  While you will all eventually be separated by miles, you will establish traditions that help you get together a few times each year.  Your families will become good friends, and you’ll watch each others kids grow up before your eyes.  Camping will be a huge part of this tradition.

Keep going on missions trips.  These trips will be spring boards towards future serving opportunities.  Keep your eyes open for ways to serve others.  While life will become very busy, fulfillment will never be greater than when you are serving others.

I don’t want to scare you with all the other details.  Life will be challenging at times.  You will experience fear, anxiety, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, and depression.  Let God be your Rock.  Lean on Him, your family, your church, and your friends.  God will see you through the storms.  There will also be many mountain top experiences and successes.  Give God the glory for these times as well.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

Finally, let Proverbs 3:5-6 and Colossians 4:2-6 become your life verses.  Look them up, memorize them.  Find ways to live them out.

Keep your chin up!

Me (at age 40)

What would you tell your 13-year old self?