1. By all means, eat those French Fries.
I have a confession to make. A few years ago, I worked at a university and would often head to the student center for lunch. We had several meal options there, including the only Chick-Fil-A in the state at the time. Every time I’d go to eat, I’d see these skinny college girls eating French Fries for lunch. That’s it. French Fries. I would think to myself,
Sure, eat that for lunch now. Give it a few years and you won’t even be able to look at a fry without gaining five pounds.
But please, and I'm serious, go ahead and munch on those fries for lunch. There’s plenty of time for cutting way back on your calories and fat grams later. Your time is coming.
2. Don’t live your life like he’s the one.
Even if he is the one, you don’t have to live like it right now. This is the only time in your life when you’ll be free. No house payment yet. Your parents are likely still footing at least some of the bills. The whole entire world is yours with little obligation and no curfew. Embrace it. Travel whenever possible. Road trips with girlfriends. Solo flights to wherever your heart desires. Travel feeds our soul. If you are in fact currently dating your future husband, he’ll still be there when you get back from the latest adventure.
I asked my readers what advice they’d give a 19-year old. Their pearls of wisdom all touched on two areas... your relationship with people and with God. I’ll share some of their advice throughout this article. You’re welcome.
Jen: Think about your future in long-term ideas. Marriage isn't the romance, it's the partnership that makes it last. You can tie your life to a ship or an anchor, choose wisely. Read I Corinthians 13 with your love interest in mind - does that person exemplify that kind of selfless love? Do you?
Think about retirement and a career that won't feel like work. Listen to your parents. They might not understand exactly what you feel in each moment but if you listen and consider their advice before you do anything, you'll be a whole lot better off than if you do what feels good at 19.
3. Find yourself some good friends.
I’m not going to tell you the friends you have now will be your friends for life. Sometimes that happens and other times miles or different chapters can separate even the best of friendships. But these friends you have, they’re sharing some crazy fun years with you. Enjoy it with them! Learn valuable friendship lessons from your time together. We need friends. Good ones.
Lisa: I have a 19 year old! I have said this to her when she was dealing with friend issues.... Be you because you are the only you. If friends hurt you, forgive them but still be you. They'll see something different in you, possibly realize how they treated you, then wonder how you could forgive them. That's called grace - something only God can give. You have that so continue to show it. Others will want what you have. I promise.
Emily: Set boundaries for friendships (don't let someone walk all over your heart) and relationships and do not listen to those who want to belittle those boundaries you set for yourself. It is your life, not theirs. If you haven't already learned this, don't put much emphasis on what others think; it's only God's opinion of you that matters.
4. Get to know yourself.
Can I tell you something? I watch you a lot. You’re so beautiful. Hair is perfect even in a sloppy bun. Clothes still fit great and fall right where they’re supposed to. Healthy skin. The beauty of youth. God did such a great job on you. Be your own best friend. Make a list, write it down if you need to, of all the things you truly like about yourself. Life will help you work on the things you need to change. It has a tendency to show us our flaws. But what is good about you? What are your passions?
More advice from a reader:
Julie: Set your limits now. Know now what you will not tolerate from someone. Be kind but not used.
5. Get thee to church.
I don’t even care if you just rolled your eyes at me. Here’s what I know to be true. There are times in every life when you’re lonely and you feel abandoned by loved ones. That’s when we really need Jesus. If you fill yourself up with Him, you’ll make it through those lonely times. You’ll be more lovable because you already know you are loved by Him.
The very best way to grow in your faith is at a local church. Find one that's a good fit for you. Get involved. Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning does not make you an active member of the family of God. No exceptions.
A few more bits of sage advice:
Sarah: Life will get busy, and you will have easy and hard times ahead. Make your faith first priority. Spend time with God every morning to make your faith stronger in the hard times and your praise come easier in the easy times. It will be so worth it!
Emily:Make God your foundation and never stray from it.
I'm linking this post up over at Stacey Thureen's #FindStability link up.