Wednesday, January 19, 2011

8 Things I’d Say to 20-year-old Me

This one is much harder to write. I’d slipped away from myself at this age. I’d say a lot of deeper personal things I won’t list, but here are some things I do feel at liberty to say.

  1. You’re extremely disciplined, but your discipline with running is a little overboard, Forest. There is such a thing as being addicted to exercise. And what’s with the picky eating? Sheesh, you love food!

  2. The summer you live in Hilton Head, you’ll run into someone who will mean more to you than you could ever imagine.

  3. You’ll drop at least fifteen of those pounds after a doctor runs tests and discovers your thyroid condition—Hashimoto’s disease (isn't that the hippo from Madagascar?). Crazy, huh?

  4. You are not chained to your past. There is much you still have to let go of. Some of your questions may not get answered in this lifetime. You’ll be more okay with this someday.

  5. Keep reading and diving into your studies. In under a year you’ll receive an honor that will blow you away. It will mean something special to you for the rest of your life.

  6. Stop giving your heart away. Guard that baby.

  7. You’re conscientious, responsible, studious, hard-working, etc. but for whom (of course if I'm saying it I probably wouldn't use the word "whom")? Who are you living for? God is still talking even though you are losing your commitment to listen and listen well.

  8. It saddens me to see you not living in the fullness of freedom you’ve been given. I’ll forgive you for this.

Sort of a heavier one this week. Guess I had a lot to learn (still do, btw).

What would you say to 20-year-old you?


  1. I love the photo! I would tell my 20-year-old self not to worry so much about the future. God is in control.

  2. That can be a hard age for so many. I think I'd tell my 20 yr old self "Enjoy your breasts. They're not going to look like that for much longer."

  3. My 20's were a painful time. I did a lot of slipping and sliding and bumping my stubborn head. Here goes:

    1. God loves you
    2. God has a plan for your life
    3. God can help you start over, your mistakes do not define you- God can redeem even these things.

    Thank you Jesus- for grace that is sufficient!

  4. You look exactly the same!!! Love that picture.

    I'd say to my 20-year old self:

    Guard your heart. Not everyone who is friendly turns out to be your friend.


    You don't know everything, or really much of anything yet. You're only 20 years old.

  5. Wow, Wendy, you were (and still are!) so beautiful! If ONLY we could go back, right? Would we listen to ourselves?

    I love that you tell yourself to guard your heart. No one ever told me that, either, and it really cost me.

    I think the #1 thing I would say to myself at 20 is: "He loves you. Jesus truly, truly loves you, in spite of all that's happened. Run to Him. Learn from Him. Cling to Him."

    I feel a copycat blog post coming on. ;)

  6. Really good post, Wendy. :) Makes me think every time.

    BTW, you have beautiful hair!

  7. I would like to tell 20-year-old me that missions is a "real" job; don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, graduate from college, but then don't be afraid to let God lead you.

  8. Great picture! Now I want to know who you met that summer!

    As for me, don't give anyone the power to hurt you. Really, it's not worth it and many painful lessons ensue.

  9. Love this, Wendy.

    I would say: You know that really cute guy who delivers packages to your work place? The one you stare at and giggle over with your coworkers? You're gonna marry that dude!

    I'd probably also say: This decade is going to be quite a ride! Hold on, girl. Just hold on.

  10. Wendy, the picture is gorgeous. You're so beautiful, no matter what your age.

    Every point resonated with me. We think we're so smart at 20, but we're not.

    I would tell myself to have more fun. Life isn't only studying and working.

  11. I'd tell myself not to be so afraid of making a wrong decision. Fear will cripple you. Trust God and seize every opportunity you're given.

    Great post Wendy. This is advice I still need to hear so thanks for the prompt.

  12. This is such a good idea! :)

    Dear 20-year-old me, we haven't met yet, but please don't lose your zest for life. Or your passion.

  13. I love that picture, Wendy.

    I'd tell my 20-year-old self not to be in such a hurry to grow up, to take herself less seriously, and that it's OK to laugh, for crying out loud.

  14. When I am filled with regret, over the mistakes I made, missteps and miscalculations, I'm comforted by doing just this. Imagine what my mother would have told me, had I been my mother. It helps me move on. Sometimes, top of that list, is forget the big hair. Sleep an extra hour. Looks like you knew that one!

  15. Julie, It might have been good if I was worrying a little more about it. ;)

    Jessica, That was all kinds of awesome! Mine look the exact same though. Funny thing. ;) :D

    Tamika, Ohh...that's a good one, my mistakes don't define me. Should have been my mantra back then.

    Erica, I learned that friend thing the hard way too. Can't figure out why I'm still willing to risk being vulnerable after all that...but I am. It's a God thing.

    Julie, Thanks and I think the idea came from something Mary DeMuth once did on her blog. Clinging to Jesus is always the best advice no matter the age!

    Casey, Thanks. LOVE making people think. I don't wash it every day. ;)

    Ang, Absolutely it's a real job--it's a calling, which in some ways I find way more profound and compelling than "just a job".

    T., I gave way too many people that power. Such a lesson. And.....I met my husband there!

    Katie, How much do I love that you married the guy you giggled over with friends. Completes my picture of you.

    Jill, I, like most people that age felt indestructible. Just wish I admitted how fragile I really was.

    Angel, Seize every opportunity. Excellent. One I'll be thinking about today. Might apply with something I'm praying about. Back then, in certain circumstances I wish I'd had more fear.

    Heidi, I second that Heidi. Hang onto that zest. It will take you through so much!

    Keli, Oh good one...taking yourself less seriously...reminds me of an Indigo Girls song.

    jd, My mom would have said what she still says, "Don't run down the path and remember to laugh." I never went through the big hair deal. Kind of a hippie at heart I guess.

    My baby is 4 today!

    Thanks for contributing to this tender conversation! I love your thoughts here.

    ~ Wendy

  16. You lived in Hilton Head?? I must have thought about doing that every summer for four years, but never took the risk. I would have told my twenty-year-old self to take some risks. Don't always settle for the easy and the safe. And not to forget to rely on God when taking those risks.

  17. I wish I'd looked like you when I was twenty!
    I guess I would tell myself to not be so shy, and my worth wasn't found in any boyfriend.

  18. Wow, that is a can of worms I'm not even going to open. :-) I think the only thing I can say that would cover ALL the bases is "God is still here, even though you don't think so."

  19. Wow ... what a great, thoughtful post ... some of those really resonated with me!

  20. Hi Wendy -

    The main things I would say are:

    1) Stop being afraid to take risks.
    2) Stop treading water and waiting for life to happen to you. Go out there and try new things.

    Susan :)

  21. Very insightful, Wendy. Thought-provoking, too.

    There's much I would say. Mostly, though, I'd tell myself that, no matter what, I've got worth.

  22. (As usual, I'm way behind in my RSS feed and just now seeing this post ...)

    You are one gutsy lady, Wendy! I almost couldn't bring myself to answer. Here goes my answer to 20-yr-old me:

    Quit dating. Now. You think you'll be sad but you'll really be saving yourself grief. And quit evaluating every single guy as a potential date. Your Mr. Right is in the Bible. You're going to fall head over heels in love with Him when you really meet Him, and I 100% promise that He'll never let you down.


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