sweet sixteen advice #1- #4

my friend lori wrote in the comments section yesterday...

“Having a boyfriend is not important.  Preparing for marriage one day is.  Your dad will know which boys are not worthy of you before you do.”

oh, yeah. that is the kind of advice i am hoping millie will take to heart. that is the kind of advice i should have listened to at 16. are you all just nodding along with me? say that you are...

anyway, i can’t think of anything nearly as good as lori’s advice. but i will go on and start on some of my less life changing advice for millie...

whilst preparing to cross stitch lori’s wise words onto a pillow for millie’s room.

and writing it in sharpie on her forehead.

(by the way, these are in NO order of importance. they are in order of my brain. which as you all know is no orderly place...) 

#1 these days are important...

ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them";...” king solomon is an old man at this point, and he is pleading with young men and women to not forget about Jesus in this small window of your life that will affect the next thirty years. he says, “don't forget about your Creator now. now when you're choosing friends, now when you're choosing future, now when you're choosing how to study, what to study. don't forget about Jesus now, because how you handle the now is going to play out in the next 20-30 years.” it's been my experience up to date that old miserable people were at one time young dumb people. you think all the BIG decisions are in your future... college, spouse, children, job, etc... but those BIG decisions ride on making the small daily decisions now. today.. every small decision that you make is a decision to follow Christ or to go your own way. those are really the only two choices you have in any choice. what is the wisest way to walk? acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. does that mean everything will be easy k’sneasy? nope, those paths may go straight uphill, but that view is going to be amazing. choose each day, and with each moment, and with each decision who you are going to follow. do it now in the days of your youth. because it doesn’t get easier to choose God when you are older. do it. NOW.

#2 do not gossip 
and do not listen to gossip.

the quickest and simplest way to wreck any relationship is to listen to gossip. the worst way to spend your time is spreading more. people who spread gossip are the plague-carriers of our day (and you know from history who were the plaque carriers throughout europe. yep. those long nosed whiskered rats who spent time in the rotting garbage and stinkin’ sewers). so every time someone starts spewing out some gossip, think of them as whiskered things spewing out poison, and get away. fast. it is actually worse than the plague and it travels faster and it is deadly. and if you start hanging around the trash heap and feel those whiskers growing, STOP in your rat tracks. and take a shower.

#3 all the hard stuff 
— it will be of use. 

hard work is never easy (aren’t i BRILIIANT!!!!). every bit of hard work you do without knowing why you are doing it … it will reap something for you. maybe not right away, but the skills and habits you learn during those times long hours and tedious work will discipline you. 

and along with this entreat to do hard things is this caveat...

perseverance matters. to God.

God is not nearly so concerned about any one turn of the journey as He is the outcome of the race. back in the 4th century, there was a leader of the early church called chrysostom. they called him “golden throat” (and that wasn’t a james bond kind of bad guy nickname, though it is a really good james bondy kind of bad guy nickname). he was a man who preached so powerfully that even pagan Roman soldiers who didn’t believe what he was saying would interrupt him with applause. and john chrysostom said that steadfast endurance, keeping on keeping on is the queen of all the virtues. that means you can’t pray unless you keep on praying. you can’t love unless you keep on loving. you can’t do one hard thing unless you keep on doing hard things. what do you learn out of steadfast endurance? you learn whether or not that which you call faith is real. you learn patience. you learn humility (because you are going to mess up a lot if you keep on trying). and you learn to rely on God to keep going when you think you can’t. 

#4 don’t get bangs. 

a very wise woman once chastised me for having bangs when i was young. she said, “bangs are for when you have wrinkles on your forehead.” and by the way, bangs take forever to grow out and never look good while you are growing them out. they only look good for the one week after you get your hair cut and then they are too long, and during that one week they only look really cute for about 5 minutes after they are blow dried OR if you are standing in a light breeze. other than that they just get in the way of your vision and block the view of your wrinkle free brow. it is temping sometimes to go the way of the bang, i know the siren call. i have answered it. and it wasn’t pretty.