Breathe. Pray. Try.

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This month, I’m participating in Compassion Blog Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and interest in child sponsorship through Compassion International. The first prompt is “Write a blog post to your childhood self. What words of encouragement do you need to hear?”

I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing. I want to know what I’m supposed to do, have the tools to do it, and then, finally, to accomplish the task.

Insecurities crop up when I’m learning something new. Somehow, I have this idea that everyone expects me to already know everything. Maybe I merely expect this from myself, and that’s why, if I were speaking to my younger self, here’s what I’d say:

Try new things. Don’t be afraid. You’ll enjoy most of them.

ImageWhen your piano teacher moves away after eight years of instruction (the tears…oh the tears), don’t be afraid to start something else. In spite of the callused fingers and the hauling of a giant instrument, harp lessons will be great. And this new teacher will be just as wonderful.

When mom signs you up for ballroom dance classes against your wishes, you’ll have fun there too. Boys aren’t as scary as they seem, and realistically, you’ll dance with a girl most dances anyway. The 1:4 ratio guys to girls won’t work any other way. Learn the guy’s part.

But mainly, don’t worry so much about what you think that everyone else thinks. God’s got your back. Worrying multiplies like weeds, sprouting up over and over, permeating and choking out the life.

Pull ‘em up, roots and all. Recognize that your worry stems from some perverted sense of needing to be perfect. From a fear of failure. From the idea that your worth is based on your performance. It isn’t true.

Take a deep breath. Pray a little prayer. Then jump in. (When you “grow up”, you’ll add a cup of tea to the process.)

Try something new. Just do it. If you don’t like it, who cares? If you look inexperienced, it’s because you are. That’s ok.

So try tennis. Maybe you’ll like it, but maybe you won’t. (You didn’t, but I’m proud of you for trying.)

Try a new youth group when invited. (You’ll wonder how you lived before.)

Try running. (You’ll like it. For a semester.)

Just try and don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of failing. Take a class. Learn a skill. Set a goal. If it doesn’t work out, maybe God was shutting a door. Don’t worry when that happens: He’ll lead you somewhere else. That “somewhere else” is guaranteed to be even better than what you thought you wanted.

And on a similar note, keep doing what you love. Write those poems in pink crayon on the inside cover of a coloring book. Doodle on the margins of bulletins. Spend hours curled up in bed with a good book. These activities will shape you.

You weren’t given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) Embrace it.

What encouragement would you share with your childhood self? Why not get involved with Compassion International and meet a child who would love to hear that same encouragement from you. Continent to continent, the roots of childhood remain very much the same; what you have to say will bless these children, their families, and their communities. Questions? Leave me a comment. I’ll be in touch.

Leave me a comment and tell me what you’d share with your childhood self!

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7 responses »

  1. Pingback: Compassion’s Blog Month | Giving Gratefully

  2. Great post! It’s so fun to read everyone’s different letters to themselves. And I agree, thanks for the childhood memories that you shared!

  3. I’ve been there too – going into something new and wanting to get everything right. Maybe we feel that difficult things like climbing mountains require training, but the easier things we should have mastered. By the way thanks for following my blog.

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