Some time ago, I was counseling a married couple and the wife made a humorous statement, “If the 40-year-old me could go back and visit the 18-year-old me; I would want to punch her in the face.” My initial thought was, “That’s funny.” My next thought was, “If time travel was real, would I use it?”
Then, came all kinds of questions: Would I go back in time, and visit my teenage self? Would the high school me believe that it was really the adult me visiting him? Would the high school Shane be utterly disappointed in the physical appearance of the adult Shane? Most likely not, because I was a “late bloomer,” so at least I’d be excited that the adult me actually had facial hair. Would the high school version of me even listen to a word the adult version of me had to say? After all, the high school me certainly already knew all there was to know about everything. I may not be able to answer these questions, but one thing I do know is that the adult me would have about seven minutes to talk before the high school me would completely check out of the conversation.
So, imagining time travel is theoretically possible, here are the five things that I would briefly want to tell the high school Shane:
1. High school should not be the best time of your life. As a teenager, it’s hard to see life beyond high school, but there is so much more that comes after those four short years. Marrying someone that loves God, and loves you, is far better. Raising children and having a fulfilling job is also better than high school. There is incredible self-worth in loving, protecting and helping mold the future of your little ones. There is also something inexpressibly fulfilling about going to bed at night knowing that you worked hard that day, while also providing for your family.
2. Most of the people you’re desperately trying to impress right now won’t be a part of your life in 10 years. There are incredible stories of high-school sweethearts getting married and high school friendships starting and remaining deep into adulthood. But, let’s be honest, those stories are few and far between. Often, there are decisions being made in high school that can impact the rest of your life, but most of the people that are helping influence those decisions won’t be around to see the life-long consequences.
3. Sex and a meaningful marriage really is worth the wait. The inability to give purity to your spouse on your wedding night can be a serious regret. Yes, God’s grace is more than sufficient to cover our failings, but there is a terrible sting when you comprehend that your spouse was patiently waiting for you, even though she didn’t know you yet, while you were impatiently giving yourself away to others.
4. Most adults are not out to “get you.” Let’s be honest, there are a few jerks out there that prey on the weak. However, most of the adults in your life care deeply about you, only want the best for you, and desire to teach you invaluable lessons if you will only be teachable. Without a doubt, there will be many life lessons that you will have to learn by your own experience, but, there are also many pitfalls that you could avoid, if you’ll be humble enough to listen to those with wisdom and experience on their side.
5. You’re valuable and you matter. This one is the most important point of all, and would be the foundation of everything else. At 21 years old, you’re going to become a Christian, and Jesus will completely change your life. However, I desperately wish that you would grasp these truths at an earlier age, because so many heartaches, scars and let-downs would be avoided. God made you in His own image, He loves you, He sent His Son to die in your place and every breath in your lungs is truly a gift from Him. He has put eternal significance on this life that belongs to Him. You matter, because you matter to the only One that truly matters…
Yes, I am done. Now you can go back to your Playstation. But, please don’t unnecessarily waste too many of those God-given hours on Madden!