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dear me… always be true to yourself.

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This is your 30s version of yourself, and I just wanted to pop in to remind you of a few things.

First and foremost, always be true to yourself. Listen, your 20s are going to be a really fun, but also pretty confusing time. I know you feel like you have to change your wardrobe, your habits, and your interests to fit in with everyone else around you. But, you don’t. People are going to like you for exactly who you are. So, like what you like. Love what you love. You are going to find your people.

Thankfully this stage won’t last very long for you, but the rest of this decade is going to be quite an adventure. Your 20’s are going to be so much fun. You’re going to make lifelong friends, move around a lot, live overseas, take a couple of awful jobs, and learn a ton. But you’re also going to go through some not-so-fun years. It’s also going to be a time of discovery, growth, insecurity, confusion, heartache, and shame. I don’t tell you that to scare you, but simply to prepare you. It’s going to get better, but there will be times where all you can do is put your head down and power through this decade. Just keep putting one step in front of the other. Stay in your lane, and stand up tall in front of this wall you’re facing. It gets better on the other side.

I know you feel like no one will ever actually love you for simply being who you are, and that you think you have to give a lot away to receive the affection of others. This is something you’re going to struggle with for much of your life. But you’re going to figure it out. You are worth so much more than what you think you have to do to receive love in return.

There will be times that you will love others more fiercely than they will know how to return, but you’ll figure that out, too. God was gracious to give you amazing friends through every stage of your life. They’ll always be there to help you pick up the pieces of your broken heart as you run toward one wrong guy after another. And they’ll be there when you later face the tragic heartache of losing one of the good ones.

There will be seasons that you will look back on and feel a deep regret and a blinding shame. But I want you to do your best to look back on those seasons instead, with tenderness because, Katie, you were simply doing the best you could at that time. Be kind to that version of yourself, and be grateful for the lessons that you’ve learned from her. She had grit and passion and fight in her (and, sure maybe a ton of stubbornness), and that is something to be celebrated.

Brush the shame off. Learn the lesson. Keep moving forward.

On the other side of the wall you’re facing you’re going to find so much more. More hope, more confidence, more strength, better health, better relationships, better self-care, and a much deeper appreciation for who you’ve become and your identity in Christ. You are not your past, but it has shaped you. You wouldn’t be who you are today without being who you were then.

So when you get to the other side of this wall, look back and embrace this becoming journey God has put you on. He’s gone before you every step of the way, and everything is going to be okay.

“The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” –Deuteronomy 1:30-31 

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