February 22, 2014

[a letter to the future me]

A letter for those of us who can sometimes get caught up in the expectations - whether implicit or explicit, true or false, big or small - that the world around us demands; a letter to give perspective from outside of the tunnel, desiring to shed new light that can only come from experience, wisdom, and time.

---------->Hint: Insert your name [here].

To the future [Laura],

Earlier this week you assisted your company in recruiting at the University of Oklahoma's career fair. You saw hundreds of 'real world' bound, wide eyed college students, anxiously awaiting a chance to talk with you as well as your fellow coworkers about the possibility of a career with your company. While conversing with these students, you noted that some appeared confident, others were heavily perspiring when you spoke to them about their plans post graduation.. but all of them - of this I am sure - were the perfect balance of anxious and unsettled. If you remember correctly, you too were in the exact same position two years ago. The funny thing is, yesterday, you had a completely new perspective. What once seemed like such a fearful, defining moment now shone forth as - yes, a defining moment - but more so, a natural part of life - a small yet integral stone in this pathway known as life. I want you to forever remember this feeling when future life changes come your way and you are left wondering if everything is going to be alright.

It will.

You have always been okay, and you will continue to be okay for the remainder of your life. And with that, I want to remind you of a few realizations that I have come to know as truths along this journey:

You have tremendous worth. Be confident in who you are - learn your characteristics & traits. Find relationships & workplaces in which these characteristics are deemed valuable. Know that you are unrepeatable - there is a magic about you that is all your own. No one has been, currently is, or will ever be the exact mix of these characteristics and traits that make up the essence of [Laura Elizabeth].

People are just people; do not allow them to fill you with feelings of insecurity, envy, unnecessary shame or guilt. Everyone needs love & sincerity. If they are not displaying love & sincerity in their lives, do not judge them or blame it on them. Instead, merely assume that they have not yet seen it. Show it to them.

Life does not owe you anything. As soon as you are able to fathom this harsh yet true idea, you will no longer expect a problem free life. Know that hardship, trial, and grief are inherent risks of life. And then move on.

That hardship, trial, and grief that I just mentioned - everyone is experiencing. At some point in their lives, every single person on the face of the earth will have bad days/weeks/months/most likely years. You are to take comfort in this. Knowing this will give you the ability to relate. Don't bottle up these emotions and pretend as if you are not experiencing them. Let it out. Find a trustworthy mentor, best friend, family member to confide in.

Be a mentor. This involves being open, loving, trustworthy, respectable, and knowledgeable, so if you are not these things, you should probably go back to step one (hey - it's okay if you have to. Take time to become these things, and don't be distraught when it takes longer than you imagined). Find a mentee who is willing & able to retain what you discuss. Love them. Let them know how valuable they are. Share life with them.

Find out what you believe and why you believe it. Then stand firm. This involves feeding your faith with action & knowledge. Soon you will see your doubts beginning to starve. C.S. Lewis states that faith is the art of holding on to something in spite of changing moods and circumstances - I would say that he was pretty accurate in that description.

You will never stop learning. At first this may seem slightly annoying - which it kind of is - but who do you think you are.. Creator of the universe? Enjoy the learning. It is for the better that we don't understand everything. Life would not be nearly as magical as it is now.

Take the focus off of yourself. I know I just told you earlier about how you have tremendous worth and all, but you certainly do not deserve the focus. There are 7 billion people in this world. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. You're suddenly seeming less important, huh?

Do not ever be ashamed of your past. It brought you here, and right here is exactly where you should be.

And lastly..

When you find yourself forgetting these truths, remember that you, [Laura Elizabeth], are to hold yourself to a standard of grace - not perfection - because of Jesus Christ and his unfathomable mercy. In love, show this to others.

Again.. not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to turn out okay.

With love,
The 2014 [Laura Elizabeth]

|| Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us. ||