Ask an Older Woman #3: Advice for a Twenty-Something

Q: “What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?”

A: As I write this, it’s my birthday! Today, I turned fifty-six years old. Sometimes I wonder, where did the years go?

I still remember my twenties so well. The responsibilities of being a mother felt like such a daunting job. I felt so afraid of making mistakes, and boy, did I make my share of them!

Yet, here I am decades later with many life experiences and beliefs that I didn’t have thirty years ago. There are also some wrinkles and pains that I didn’t have before, but we’ll talk about that later.

Titus 2:3–4 gives the mature Christian woman a responsibility to “teach what is good” and to “train the young women” around her. While I do have a small circle of younger ladies in my life, I’d certainly love to have more! 

If you are a twenty-something lady (or even if you’re not) pour yourself a cup of tea and sit down with me for a few minutes while I share some sweet lessons the Lord has taught me over the years.

1. Your life ahead is yours . . . but it really isn’t.

As a young lady entering adulthood, I had many starry-eyed ideas of what life would be like. I definitely had visions for myself that didn’t come true. Yet, growing in Christ over the decades helped me see that God’s plans are supreme over my plans. There are many things God ordained for my life that I wouldn’t have chosen; some very hard, some very pleasant and surprising.

There is nothing wrong with setting goals and making plans for the future. Just remember that as a believer, your life is “hidden in Christ” and you are His possession. Psalm 100:3 says:

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

The Lord is sovereign and has free reign to use you in ways your mind cannot fathom (Eph. 2:10). Trust in the everlasting God no matter what comes your way.

2. Celebrate the God who made you by avoiding comparison.

I’d love to see the tendency to compare ourselves to one another banished in the sisterhood of Christ. Unfortunately, this habit starts in childhood and becomes ingrained into our adult thinking.

In order to see the error of comparison, we must put it into biblical perspective.  Genesis 1:27 says we are made in the image of God, and the psalmist praises God by saying, 

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (139:14).

Without realizing it, we’re telling God that he somehow “got it wrong” when we look at someone else’s uniqueness and feel bad. It’s as if we’re saying, Wonderful are your works in everyone else’s life, God. My soul cannot rejoice because I’m envious and feel inferior.

Rather, I would challenge you to look at other women’s gifts and talents without envy.

Stop thinking, I need what she has!
Instead think, I need her!

You know that woman who’s good at all things creative? Ask her to come over and help you decorate that living room wall that has you stumped. What about that friend who somehow puts on the best birthday parties for her kids? Hit her up for party advice and watch your friendship grow. When you learn to stop envying others’ gifts and talents, but see them as a bridge to connect, you’ll better understand why God made us all uniquely.

3. Prepare your heart for suffering.

Heartache, suffering, and hardship typically aren’t the most-favored topics in the life of a young believer. We would much rather do a survey on spiritual gifts and wonder how God will use us. Our untrained minds don’t grasp hardship in the scheme of faith without help.

In order to prepare ourselves for suffering, we have to get a firm grasp on suffering with solid, biblical teaching. We need “good theology” early in life, so that when hardship sends us reeling, we don’t get sidetracked with false beliefs and our faith remains firm in Christ. This helps us develop a no-matter-what-I-will-trust-You belief in God.

My own faith was tested in my thirties when my son’s autism was shown to be severe. In my heart, I truly believed that God had allowed his autism in order to make a miraculous healing happen—so He would then receive glory.

So, I wept and prayed healing Scriptures over our son, Taylor. I prayed and anointed him with oil as he slept. I was so utterly confident that God would heal his autism, that I would rush to his room in the mornings and see if he had woken up healed. I so longed to see his affliction gone and hear words come from his mouth!

Yet, after years of praying for total healing, I slowly realized through the Word some serious truths about healing. Yes, God definitely does still heal. And yes, God definitely still allows suffering at times and doesn’t heal. But God is sovereign and able to use any situation for his plans and glory, no matter the course He chooses. 

Did God make a mockery of my prayers asking for my son’s healing? No, absolutely not. Instead of healing, God showed me His face! What comfort and strength we received when hope seemed like a flickering, fading light. What joy we’ve received from God for every small milestone along the way. And oh, how God has changed us and made us usable for kingdom purposes.

And my son? He’s twenty-five now and doing good. He still has autism and health problems. He is still nonverbal. Yet his life has value! He’s a son, brother, uncle, grandson, and friend to those who enjoy him every day. God is using his autism, even now, before the Day when he is healed and gets a new body.

4. Base your value on Christ, not your circumstances.

The best advice I can give you as a Christian is to find your identity in Christ alone. First Peter 2:9 says that you, as a believer, are a special possession of Christ Jesus! Sister, do you realize the gravity of that? That’s your identity more than everything else in your life. It’s the basement floor of who you are, and everything else is built upon it. 

This truth will anchor you:

  • When you’re single and waiting on God’s answer for marriage
  • When you lose your job and are shell-shocked in disbelief
  • When you’re aching for a child to love
  • When your children grow up and suddenly the house is quiet

When you see that your value in life isn’t “who you are” but rather “whose you are,” then you will latch onto the truth that will carry you your entire life and give you purpose: your identity in Christ will never shift or change.

5. Enjoy your young years.

Enjoy your younger years, but see them for what they are—a fading season. Embrace your femininity and beauty, but don’t obsess over your body. Find lasting beauty in acting out love and grace to those God has placed in your life. Show them your faith by your humble Christian service each day. 

As 1 Peter 3:3–4 says, 

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

When the wrinkles come later in life, you’ll know where your true beauty lies!

6. Find a godly mentor.

As much as I’ve enjoyed writing this, the reality is that I can’t really be with you where you are. If you aren’t already under the wing of another Christian lady, I encourage you to pray about finding a Christian mentor to disciple and lead you along as you grow in Christ. It made all the difference for me!

Farewell for now,


About the Author

Sheila Gosney

Sheila Gosney

Sheila Gosney lives in Missouri and is blessed with a husband, three sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandsons, and an incredible circle of family and friends. Sheila serves in her local church several ways; she enjoys teaching kids, mentoring younger women, … read more …

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