Sunday, September 15, 2013

Compassion Month | A Message to My Childhood Self

Remember several weeks ago when I told you that September is Compassion Blog Month?! Well, I haven't forgotten and it's past time for me to share a few posts with you. :)

The first assignment is to write a blog post to your childhood self. What words of encouragement do you need to hear?

I was fortunate. I had great parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults in my life. (And still do for that matter.) They were a huge encouragement to me and constantly spoke truth into my life.

After thinking about the assignment for the past two weeks, tons of things have crossed my mind. But after considering each of those things again, I think I've boiled it down to three things. It's not that I didn't hear these things as a kid. I did. But I wish I would have paid closer attention and believed my parents (and others) when they told me these things.

To my childhood self ...

1. Work hard, but don't try to be perfect. I know it's hard since you come by those perfectionist tendencies honestly. But believe me when I say that perfectionism is not going to do you any favors. All it's going to give you is a knot of tension in the pit of your stomach, lots of headaches, and feelings of insecurity.

Don't misunderstand me. It's important to work hard. Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." So work hard and do your best. Turning in a good effort on homework assignments and school projects, studying for tests, and obeying adults are a witness for Christ. Just don't try to be perfect. Only God is perfect! Plus, if you can figure out how to relax and deal with stress as a kid, life will be a lot more fun later. :)

2. Don't believe such mean things about yourself. I know what's running through your head. You've somehow convinced yourself that you're not pretty enough, that you're not smart enough, that you're not good enough, that you wish you were more like so-and-so, that you wish your hair was curly, that you wish you were more athletic, and on and on.

If I could just tell you one thing about this, I would say, "Don't believe the lies!" God has made you exactly as He wanted you to be! Thank Him for that! Satan wants to convince you that you are unworthy, not good enough, and less than. Do you want to know why? It's the best way he knows to get you to focus on yourself instead of on Jesus. So believe Psalm 139:13-14 and do what it says! Praise God for how He made you. "For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

Oh, and one day when you're about 12 or 13, your hair is going to start curling up like crazy and you're going to spend a lot of time over the next 18 years straightening it and working the frizz out. So enjoy the straight hair while you can!

3. Don't let fear hold you back. Risk it all. As a little kid, you were fearless. At some point, you started becoming "the cautious child." I can't tell you why or when it happened, but fight the fear. Of course, don't be foolish. Trust the adults in your life to give you wise counsel. Seek God's will when making decisions. But then don't be afraid to take risks.

When you can get over the fear that threatens to hold you back, you are going to do some really cool things! You're going to live in one of the largest cities in the world and spend time overseas. You're going to make friends and serve the Lord. You're going to say "yes" to dates, have lots of bizarre bad first date stories, and eventually find and marry the man of your dreams. You are going to go places and do things you thought you could only dream of. The Lord is going to give you strength for it all. 

So take risks. They might not all pan out, but it will be worth it! And if you need to repeat Joshua 1:9 over and over and over just to get you through, that's okay. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

So that's what I would tell my childhood self if I could. What would you tell your childhood self? What do you wish someone had told you? While it isn't possible to change things for 10-year-old you, it IS entirely possible to change things for another child.

Will you consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International and speaking truth into his or her life? Our goal this month is to find sponsors for 3,160 children. Will you join me in releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name?

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