It's been almost ten years since I was 18 years old. Oh, how it pains me to type that sentence. I can still sometimes manage to feel young and almost even 'relevant' in our youth camp ministry until I see a sentence like that in black and white.
When I think back on the person I was then, I realize how shallow, self-centered and approval-seeking I was in my relationships with others and with God. I still have a long way to go in each of these areas, but praise God, he's grown me up by leaps and bounds through the last ten years!
At 18, I was a freshman in college (always one of the youngest in my class, I turned 18 a couple weeks into my freshman year). I began dating my (future) husband one week after my 18th birthday, and never looked back. My dreams included a husband, staying home taking care of my many babies (5 to 8 or so, I would've said), and being a pastor's wife. Mostly because Hubby was planning to be a pastor. And I was planning to be his wife. I've already blogged about how God changed our plans in that area...(the pastor area, not the wife area...) :)
I think my 18-year-old self would be surprised that I only have one baby. I imagined I would have at least two children after 6 years of marriage, but if you'll remember, we did have to wait a while for little Z. And I would definitely be surprised that I live at a camp, in a provided trailer, and I'm (usually) content with it.
I wouldn't be surprised at who my Hubby is...but I might be surprised at how far God has brought him spiritually and at the depth of our marriage relationship...and definitely at the depth of my relationship with God. I'd be surprised at the fierce love that my heart holds for one short little human being, and the fact that never sleeping in doesn't (usually) bother me. :)
I'm sure I expected to live closer to our families, and to have a closer relationship with my parents and sister...something I'm always working towards. But I might also be surprised at the easy & fun relationship that I have with Joel's family...then again, maybe I wouldn't- we've always had a great time together. But Western NY State??? Snow country?? I sure wouldn't have pictured us living all the way up here. Another example of the fact that God works in mysterious ways. :)
I think my 18-year-old self would be relieved that in the real world, appearances and 'coolness' don't matter nearly as much as they seemed to in high school, and there are a lot more dorks and nerds out here in life than there are prom queens and celebrities. On the other hand, I would probably be appalled at the way I've 'let myself go' over the last ten years, and how little I care about my appearance...if I look at myself in a mirror more than once or twice after I've finished my makeup and hair for the day, it's unusual. I often arrive at evening church and realize I have no idea what state my hair is in, because I haven't actually looked at myself in the mirror since 8:15 am.
If the 'now' me could say one thing to my 18-year-old self, that is, if I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would probably have to be: "Don't stress out so much over the little things- your relationship with (future) Hubby, your wedding plans, your college - God will work it all out in the end." ...a message that my 'now' self could probably stand to hear from my 10-years-from-now self as well, when it comes to parenting...
But I doubt that my 18-year-old self would listen. Because some things just have to be learned 'the hard way' after all.