A Note to My Younger Self — A Deeper Family


Last week, Emily Wierenga invited her readers to answer this question: “Would you hang out with your younger self?” I’ve been mulling that one over for a week now. . . and here’s where I landed.

I can see you in my mind’s eye: tall and awkward, outspoken and uncertain and so worried about keeping all the rules. The ones summed up in your mom’s favorite half-joke: “Beware the unguarded moment.”

So that’s what you spent a lot of time doing, isn’t it? Staying on guard. Yet, as I recall, it came sort of naturally to you. Number one child to parents you adored, big sister to two brothers, one right behind you and one far back. You learned early to be bossy, to take charge, to direct events in your small world.

There was a circle of girl friends in high school, mostly the brainy kids, but not all. And there was the church. Oh my, yes, there was the church. As wary of leadership as you were in the school setting, you jumped in with both feet at church. You felt safe there, bounded, encouraged. The youth group was large and active, about 200 kids. And there were adults who cared about you, who invested in your formation as a Jesus-follower, and who knew how to have fun.

You went to confirmation and memorized pieces of the catechism and became a voting member of the congregation at the ripe old age of 14. And you sat in the balcony of that beautiful old Gothic brownstone, writing notes to your friends and trying hard to stifle the giggles. Yet much of the message somehow got through all that stifling and note-writing. You were blessed to hear the sweet notes of grace mixed in with the heavy bass line of rules, and, over time, that’s the tune that stayed with you the longest.

Sadly, however, you did not learn how to sing that song to yourself very well. Yeah, that nasty inner critic started a long, long time ago, amplified by the anxieties and expectations of others.

I’m writing over at A Deeper Family today . . . maybe you’ll join me there?


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  1. I was a good girl, too, but always going through something Big & Awful. Hmmm … not much has changed.

    • Your comment is not showing on the comments log and you’re all by your lonesome out here, so I’m thinking that my scheduling error may have created two postings after all!! I don’t remember going through anything Big and Awful as an adolescent, but I’ve had plenty of both in the last 25 years.

  2. Newell Hendricks says

    Diane, I tried to send you something, not sure it got through. But maybe it got through loud and clear and you didn’t want to respond. But I am interested in you life since this picture which I remember.

    trying again,

    • Newell, I am so sorry! Your email got buried & I got totally immersed in the details of moving my dementing mom to Santa Barbara AND stepping back into work to help out during a sabbatical break. I’ll hunt down your message, I promise!!