Today I was driving and a song came on the radio that was titled Dear Younger Me by the Christian band, MercyMe. The premise of the song is about giving advice to a younger version of yourself so that the life circumstances and lessons you have learned along the way could give the younger version of you a step ahead in this world.
As I listened to the song, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my own lessons I have learned along this crazy journey called life.
As a wife and mom to three amazing and wonderful kids, I couldn’t be more blessed with what God has given me. However, while my heart is overflowing, I do have sorrow on how I handled the transition into motherhood.
You see it was at this point of motherhood that my health started to suffer. This downward spiral resulted in years of living in survival mode, where I was barely treading water just to keep pace with being a new mom, a wife, a full-time employee, and simply being a good friend and family member.
My life was out of control and I was too stubborn and fearful to admit I couldn’t do it anymore. Even more embarrassing was that my health, the exact thing I used to educate my college students on, was taking its toll on me. Like it or not, I was experiencing the debilitating effects of chronic stress.
Today, I no longer live in survival mode. My day’s are much more balanced with the rhythm God intends for me to live. I am better, but still not great, at handling stress. I am also more intentional about taking care of me. When I need “me” time, I acknowledge it and try to ask for help. I admit, however, that asking for help is still my biggest downfall. Like the rest of you, I am a work in progress.
Because of my intentionality in this area, my health has improved and my body is beginning to heal from the consequences of chronic stress. If I had to redo life again, I would never replace motherhood but I would have handled the transition better.
How about you? While your story is different from mine, I’m guessing you too have lived with sorrow on how you have lived part of your life. Maybe it has to do with your physical self, wishing you would have eaten better or exercised more to help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or obesity.
What about the community in which you surround yourself with? Do you wish you would have learned to forgive others so that you didn’t have to live with bitterness? Or maybe you wished you could have learned to communicate with your significant other so that your marriage could have been spared.
What about your priorities in life? Did you live your life in a way that reflected these priorities? How about your finances? Did you spend your money wisely?
While the story itself is important, the ultimate question that needs to be reflected upon is the link between these circumstances and how they have affected your soul, your life-line.
I encourage you to reflect on your life and write a letter to your younger self.
While you can’t redo what has happened in your life thus far, you can use what you’ve learned to help improve your current and future self.
Dear Younger Me,
Wow, this life of yours is quite the ride! You are so blessed to have an awesome husband and three beautiful children who bring such happiness to your life. While these bundles of joy have brought you adventure, they also have highlighted parts of you that show weakness and flawed personality traits. This letter is an encouragement and reminder to not let these traits define you. God created you in His image. Use these traits to make you a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
Ask for help! There is no shame in asking for help and it doesn’t mean you are weak. Have a list of people you trust and are willing to help you. If it is too hard to ask in person, text them.
When you know something in your life needs to give, figure out what it is and make the transition as soon as possible.
Set boundaries. Decide on what your top priorities are during this season of life and base your decisions around these priorities. It is okay to put your career on the back-burner. Motherhood is a career and a season of life that only comes along once, so cherish it.
Take care of you by nourishing your body with life-giving food.
Take care of you by making daily movement a priority. Do exercises that allow for the release of endorphins to help make you sound in mind and body.
Take care of you by sleeping… and often!
Take care of you by getting God’s spiritual nourishment, every.single.day.
Take care of you by living in the world, but not of the world.
Finally, always remember that you are beautiful and loved. Embrace and enjoy each day.
Your Older Self
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