A Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self: Ten Years Later
A week ago, I celebrated my 27th birthday. In the midst of my celebration, I spent some time reflecting on who I was ten years ago vs. who I am today. This inspired me to write a letter to my 17-year-old self.
LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE.
As romantic as marrying your secondary school sweetheart seems in your head, what matters most is, he is not the one for you. And deep down, somewhere beneath your ideas of romanticism, you know that. He’s a young boy, and you’re a young girl, still finding your way in this world. Still trying to figure out the important stuff. Still trying to figure out who you both are.
I don’t doubt you love him based on what you know about love at this point and, of course, he loves you. But the truth is he cannot love you responsibly. He is incapable of holding your heart without dropping it as young boys usually do. I know you’re still hanging on because of “love” but one day soon, you will also let go because of love. The love you have for yourself will eventually win. You will be heartbroken temporarily, but you will get over it. And In God’s time, you’ll meet the one who will love and cherish you beyond measure. In the meantime, learn to cherish you. Love you. And don’t allow anyone to dictate the love you deserve. You darling, deserve it all.
“I know you’re still hanging on because of “love,” but one day soon, you will also let go because of love. The love you hold for yourself will eventually win.” – LOVE
LET’S TALK ABOUT GROWTH.
I know you are questioning your future. You look at your life and wonder if your parents will ever be proud of you. You wonder if you will ever gain the confidence to stand up and talk in front of a room filled with people without stumbling over your words. You worry that you will never be able to face a crowd without feeling embarrassed and inadequate, consumed by fear and insecurities.
Although you feel pushed to the side right now, though you feel like a delicate seed underground waiting patiently to be filled so you can blossom into a confident woman, I want you to realize that at this current moment, you are still precious, usable in God’s eyes and created for a purpose.
“Purpose” may not be a word you use often right now but it will one day be your movement. Your blueprint. Your opportunity to pour into others and remind them of the greatness they hold within. Your voice will be heard. You will be acknowledged. Your heart for others and your genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of those you meet will unapologetically radiate through you.
You will learn that God has a great sense of humor and the very things you thought were your downfall will eventually become your uprise. Your journey will be filled with twists and turns, but none of that will matter once you always look up and keep your eyes on the One who sent you.
P.S: make the most of your time in London; you won’t be there forever. You’re going places love!
“In this current moment, you are still precious, usable in God’s eyes and created for a purpose.” – GROWTH
LET’S TALK ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS.
In the upcoming years, you will meet some amazing people, and I know in your ideal world, you would love to maintain friendships with them all, but sadly, that is neither realistic nor necessary.
I say this because some people are supposed to only share a season with you. On the other hand, you will have the pleasure of sharing two or three seasons with others. You will grow attached to them and be disappointed when they eventually wither away. Don’t blame yourself or them. Simply enjoy the memories you share and gracefully move on. As trusting as you are, keep your circle small but always love big. And rest assured that some of your connections will outlive seasons. They will weather the hardest of storms and highlight the beauty of friendships rooted in love, authenticity, and honor. You will never have to question their loyalty; they are, indeed, “God connections.”
You will have to learn to love some people from a distance, most of whom are family. However painful it may be, your space cannot be polluted by the false identity some will attempt to place on you if you are to fully blossom into the woman God created you to be. You will have to rise above their expectations and limitations; you will have to stand by your “yes” even when they shout “no!” Even when they laugh at your ideas and dreams, stand firm.
You may not realize it now, but your ability to pursue the unknown will lead you to the most amazing places. Despite the pushback from others, one person who will always lift you up is your mum. Although you argue a lot right now, she loves you more than you could ever imagine. She’s your number one cheerleader. Her prayers, her strength, and her belief in who you are called to be will never perish. She is with you until the end. Cherish her always.
“You will have to rise above their expectations and limitations; you will have to stand by your ‘yes’ even when they shout ‘no!’” – RELATIONSHIPS
LET’S TALK ABOUT FAITH.
I know you struggle with your faith. You desire more than anything to surrender all to God, but you don’t know how. In the upcoming years, your struggles will begin to make sense; your hidden pain and fears will be realized and dealt with one by one. The lies of the enemy will be exposed, and the depth of your purpose will be revealed. As you go through your journey, don’t allow those who pervert the gospel of Christ to push their superficial, religious mindsets on you. Don’t feel bad when you reject the false teachings of those who wear crosses around their necks but have yet to allow Christ into their hearts. You are not obligated to prove your love for God to those who do not see you worthy of His love. Instead, allow your life to speak the message God placed in your heart. Most importantly, let love be your loudest message.
“As you go through your journey, don’t allow those who pervert the gospel of Christ to push their superficial, religious mindsets on you.” – FAITH
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU.
Shandice, the best is, indeed, yet to come. Even in your darkest moments, through the many trails that will test your faith and challenge your fears, know that you will never be alone. Inevitably, you will go through seasons of loneliness and times when you feel removed from everything you know. You will miss the comfort of home and the solace of familiarity. However, your discomfort will be necessary to purposely disconnect you from who you think you are and powerfully connect you to the woman God created you to be. You will need to be uprooted to be planted in truth.
No matter which season you face, rest in the assurance that no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and those who looked down on you growing up will have to look up as you rise. You will not be the timid, shy, “little Shandice” forever. But never feel the need to change your spirit; remain gentle. Remain vulnerable. Remain open. Remain authentically, lovingly you.
“Your discomfort will be necessary to purposely disconnect you from who you think you are and powerfully connect you to the woman God created you to be. You will need to be uprooted to be planted in truth.” – YOU
LOVE FROM THE 27-YEAR-OLD ME.
Dear Purposeful Woman, wherever you currently stand in life never forget how far you’ve come. Don’t allow what you haven’t overcome to distort what you have overcome. Celebrate all victories and continue to challenge your limits; your journey isn’t over yet!
What advice would you give the younger you?
Shandice Stallworth | DPW Founder
I LOVE helping women create a life that radiates their God-given purpose through my programs, content, and purposeful products. My mission is to help women experience sustainable transformation - starting from the inside out.
You can keep up with Shandice over on www.shandicestallworth.com