Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Letters to Myself, Part 3

Welcome back to my 3rd installment of my Letters to Myself Series.

Dear 20-year old Misty,

Wow, in college, and a Junior! At Rhodes. You are having the time of your life, aren't you? You've made the best friends of your life, been out of the country twice now, and are knee-deep in a college ministry that is central to how you are developing spiritually. You're also not doing so great grade-wise. You really should stop going to The Ugly Mug when you NEED to study; that's what libraries are for, and you know you won't work at the coffee shop! So stop pretending. Your GPA depends on it.

Other than being the best time of your life, you are also experiencing new lows. But they're good lows, I promise; they're the kind that mold you and shape you, your beliefs, and your views of God. I'm so proud of you for talking to Elin and getting some counseling. Talking is good, even when it is hard, and please, keep sharing what you're sharing with Bet. She needs to hear it, even if she doesn't think she does. She's listening, I promise.

Breaking up with John is not nearly as hard as you are making it out to be. I'm sorry he cheated on you, but even when he says he's sorry, don't go back; you need to move on. And don't skip a whole week of school just because life is hard. Damaris will help bail you out of English, but you have two professors who don't care. And that is bad news. This is not the time to do it all yourself. It is ok to ask for help. People love you and want to help. Trust them even when it seems like you've only ever been hurt--you're just thinking that right now because of your depressed fog. Reach out.

I'm sorry to say your relationship with Mom and Dad does not get any easier. In fact, it's going to get worse. They are feeling threatened and insecure, and you don't know what to think anymore. But living a lie is not worth it. Please trust me on that. Right now you just don't want your family life to have been a lie, but it was, and will continue to feel like a lie if you don't get healing and move forward.

You are still struggling with self-worth and external values. Being on the ladies' ministry team is not going to make you feel like you're contributing anything. Being on leadership team is not going to cement you as a spiritual conquistador. Stop trying to be more than you are, and stop worrying about what other people think of you. It's not about them, or you; it's about God. Try talking to him sometime. You'll be surprised.

Oh, and about Canfield. Stop worshipping him. He's a brilliant professor, eh? But don't let him get so much in your head. Grow a little more, take a few English classes by some other professors. However, don't shirk your duty to figure out where you stand on some of the issues he's raised; they are going to crop up later in your life in a way you didn't think possible, and it's good. Oh, it's different than what you're thinking now. Let's just say social justice is possible-necessary?-as a Christian, and you will still have to wrestle with how you marry your brain and your faith.

Unfortunately, dear Misty, you have not seen your end of heartbreak in the relationship world. You're going to meet a guy next year and the summer after you graduate, you will be engaged to him. It's going to be a roller-coaster from here on out, because you are going to make some mistakes. You are going to move to his parents' house, and you are going to think you are going to die sometimes. But you're not. And Meg and Larry will be there in ways you have never known before. You're going to get even more wrapped up in Nick, physically, and emotionally, and your relationship is more dead than you know. You have placed him upon a pedestal where he doesn't belong. When he comes crashing down, your whole faith is going to crumble because of your misplaced idolatry. The recovery is brutal. But you will recover. You are even going to "get over him," I promise.

You have stopped talking to Mom and Dad because they continue to call you a liar, and you will even go through a period where you and Bet don't talk because of it. You will never feel more alone in your life, ever. But God is bigger than you are (you are only now making this your mantra in your life) and He will send a friend to help you, and a real counselor to help make new progress. And he gave you Meg. I know that you are worried that there is no way you and she can truly still be friends, but I promise, your relationship will be sweeter than ever in a few years, and she loves you as if you were her own daughter.

You will get married, and have children. That will seem a lifetime away to you now. But it's closer than you think. You won't join the military (I think you knew deep down that it wasn't going to happen), and believe it or not, you will move back to Memphis (it's ok, Mr. Right is waiting for you). You will feel pretty lonely adjusting to your friends who seem to have moved on without you, but you will make new friends, too. And you will emerge from all of this with a real relationship with Jesus. That is going to rock your world, I promise.

I don't want to leave tips for this entry because so much emotional territory was covered, but I'll write again in a few years.
Your 28-year old self


a Tonggu Momma said...

I am loving this series of yours.