Dear Hopeful One
I know that you have just arrived in a new city. Still single, flat broke, but excited about the new possibilities. Your plane ticket is already booked for one last trip with your old teammates for an adventure race in Swaziland. You’ve just started writing a book and hope that God will somehow use your love for writing to reach out to others. Marriage is a fleeting dream, especially since you have met “Mr. Right” for about the tenth time. Having children is somewhere on the bottom of the ”to-do list”, way below scuba diving and travelling the world.
Now, fast forward five years, and you will wake up one morning realizing that the most adventurous thing you have done in five months was to allow your seven-month-old baby to explore the backyard. You will still be nearly broke but debt-free. Your time to write will be limited to baby naptimes or when you are not helping out at the local orphanage. And no, you did not end up marrying the guy you have a crush on now, or the next one, or even the “perfect guy” you will be dating in a few months.
You will see the world and learn a new language, live in Vietnam for the first few months of your pregnancy, and eventually give birth in a local hospital in Thailand. Then you will stop racing, especially in the “rat race” of life, and you will deliberately choose a life that is slower and more intentional. You will keep on writing until you finish the book you are currently working on, but afterwards, you will decide not to publish it. Instead, you will start a blog and have the opportunity to share with others across oceans and continents with the press of a button.
The good news is that you will never stop dreaming, but you will also learn to live the not-so-perfect reality that is today. If I could gave you some advice knowing what I know now I would have told you to:
– Keep on believing.
There will be a few hard days ahead, and faith will be the only thing that will sustain you. You will also need it on the good days to remember where your strength comes from and to keep you humble.
– Keep on falling in love because one day you will find true love.
However, until you find that guy, do not give your heart or body or soul away, and do not make promises you cannot keep. Until you finally say “I do”, you can never be sure that you have found your “forever love”.
– Keep on persevering.
Endurance is the one thing you will need in every season of your life, even if the only mountain you have to face is the never-ending pile of laundry. Never give up.
– Keep in touch.
Treasure your family and the friends you now have close to you, because one day, you will be miles and years away from them. Every investment you make in relationships now will continue to enrich your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.
– Keep on embracing every season of your life.
Good memories are always better than regrets. Do not think that marriage or having children or a new job will ever fulfill your life, because they won’t. Instead:
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
– Keep on seeking God with all your heart and mind and soul.
That is where your fulfillment and purpose lies, and all other good thing are simply blessings out of His hand.
– Keep on writing.
Through writing, you will always learn, grow, and remember. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your prayer journal or a letter to a friend. Words will always have the power to build up or break down, whether written or spoken, so choose your words wisely.
– Keep on praying.
Prayers get answered, and miracles happen every day. Never tell people you will pray for them. Take their hands and pray with them.
– Keep on learning.
Ask questions. Google answers. Do word searches in your Bible. Read. Observe. Listen. Learning doesn’t have to involve a degree or a diploma.
– Keep on hoping.
Place your hope in the One who can do all things. The right kind of hope never disappoints. Do not confuse hope with expectations. Hope gives God the freedom to give us His dreams… Instead of working our lives out the way we think they’re supposed to be.
If you could go back five years and give yourself advice what would you say?