Congratulations are definitely in order. I know you think you’ve just accomplished something, and you have… but there is so much more to life. Don’t get stuck as the person you are today. Keep growing, keep learning, keep reading, & keep chasing a great life that pulls you deeper into God’s story than you’ve ever been. Remember, you’re a product of His imagination, not just 13 years of free (or expensive) education. Keep digging into His imagination and give everything to make it a reality.
Please don’t settle for what I’ve told you is possible for your life. My vision is too narrow, my opinions of your capabilities are too limited, and my faith in you is not nearly as big as God’s. Oh, I believe in you, don’t get me wrong, and I want to do everything I can to continue to help you grow. I believe you can change the world… But He made you. He knows you inside and out and has the ability to draw out of you what you and I didn’t even realize was there. In Him you’ll learn things I could never teach you and discover the power that really does change the world.
Don’t tell your mom I said this, but live dangerously. A safe life is just too boring and won’t add a whole lot to His Kingdom, to be honest. Living safely, you’ll make it through ok, but in the end, you’ll still die – maybe a few years later than the more adventurous, but dead, nonetheless. Someday you’ll stop breathing. Your life’s mission is not to take every breath safely between now and then – it’s to be blown by the Wind of God into a life more colorful and passionate than any you could dream up for yourself. A life so over-filled that it brings life to the sliver of humanity that is wherever you go.
Don’t save your best dreams for sleep. Live them every day. Live in such a way that your waking life, completely submitted to God’s heart, thrills you infinitely more than the dreams you dream when you’re asleep. Give yourself fully to Him. Trust me, your subconscious mind can’t compete with the wonders of His imagination! Let God play around in your own imagination, and every once in a while, when you think the Spirit’s about to blow your mind – chase down one of those crazy ideas He puts there and work it out to His delight.
Use the best of your creativity to celebrate your Creator. You’ll probably take some classes or have some jobs that seem like they’re sucking the life out of you. You’ll work hard, but feel like it doesn’t really matter. Work hard anyway, because it does matter. Strike back at the monotonous with something beautiful and make sure the world sees your Maker in your creation. Make art that matters and show the world His unlimited creativity. Make a marriage that actually works and show people His kind of selfless love. Make babies and be sure you notice His image in them. (Don’t rush this – and make sure you get the sequence of events right on those last two!)
Don’t tell your mom about that last part either – she’s not ready for it! Probably, she never really will be, because she’s going to go on thinking of you as her baby. That’s ok. Let her love you like that, because when she does, it reminds her how much God loves you both.
Build relationships on that love. Go for walks with Jesus. Deepen your connection with Him as much as you can, and let Him connect you to the people who need you in their lives. Learn to treasure the quiet moments when it’s just you and Jesus… and live fully with Him.
Live. There’s so much more to say, but that one word pretty much captures it all.
May your lungs be filled with the life giving Breath of God.
May His Voice echo in your heart and through your life.
And may His Love reach a dying world through your living.