I never had a little sister. But if I did, I might have said the following to her.
I would tell her that she didn’t have to shut the world out when she was struggling with something. I would tell her that behind every “popular” girl at school’s smile, there was an untold story she knew nothing about. I would tell her that not everyone is as perfect as they seem.
I would tell her that we are in this together. I would tell her she isn’t alone.
I would tell her that she should pay attention to the unexplainable visions she had of going to a quiet church to pray, that God was speaking to her, trying to break into her heart. I like to think I could have offered her encouragement, set her on the right path – a straight path – from the get go, so she could avoid all the backtracking and the bumble bee circular path I took to get to Him.
I like to think I could have saved her the heartache of trying to find love in all the wrong places, of trying to “fit in” with the wrong crowd, of figuring out that sometimes people are mean simply because they are unhappy with themselves and that it actually has nothing to do with you.
I would encourage her to speak her truth, to not be down on herself for being depressed in high school, and I would tell her that there was still hope for her to find happiness again, that she could even create her own happiness. I would explain to her that her worth isn’t dependent on what people think, if boys thought she was cute or not, if she got straight A’s or not. I would try my best to tell her that God has handpicked her, created her in imperfect perfection, and that she is made from the very same material that the stars are made of, and that she matters.
I would tell her not to buy in to the ridiculously unrealistic romantic comedies she and her girlfriends would watch at sleepovers – that she is beautiful the way she is and that she doesn’t need a Hollywood “makeover” to win over the leading male protagonist, usually a jock who doesn’t see the “invisible girl” until she changes her appearance so dramatically and he realizes he was in love with her the whole time. I would explain to her that this is not reality; that the reason all the characters always know what to say and how to act is because it’s scripted: Life is much messier than that. Hearts are much messier than that. Because they are real.
After 27 years of experience on this earth, I imagine I have collected many nuggets of wisdom that I could share with my little sister to help her navigate this beautiful journey we call Life. But from what I observe of my friends with younger siblings, she could choose to let my words go in one ear and out the other. She could choose not to listen with a hard heart.
But in the off chance that my words would resonate with her, I would speak the Truth to her, like I wish someone had done for me.
But I would also love and accept her despite all her flaws and mistakes, like God has done for me.
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