I Wish Someone Had Told Me: 3 Messages to a Younger Me

I felt like a wimp. Parenting books helped some, but caring for my newborn made my heart cry, “I wish someone could tell me how to be a mom!” An older woman offered to answer my questions, and Cheryl knew what she was doing. Her five children were living proof. I hung on her every word. Later, when she told me about God, I trusted Jesus to save me. 

Now I’m the older woman. Having grown in the sweetness of my union with Christ for more than forty years, I have a scriptural charge: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). Let me share with you some of the guidance I wish I had received at the start of my life in Christ.

1. Fill your mind and heart with God’s Truth. 

Believer, you are a Christian! You may wonder about who you are and why you are here. You are God’s child now and forever. He is your Father. No matter how mature in Christ you become, your identity is rooted in this solid ground, and you have a purpose that will not change. God has made you for Himself (Gen.1:26; Psalm 16:11). He has freed you from a life that is all about you. Trust Him to give you things to do and avenues of success, and know that performance and achievements will never fulfill you. He designed you to be like Him (1 John 3:1–2). The purpose of your life now is to know Him, love Him, enjoy Him, and glorify Him. 

You will sometimes still feel lonely. Where can you find true contentment? When in doubt, hold on to this truth: Your Father is always near. Your heart is His home forever. He hears what you are thinking. He knows what you are feeling. When I was caught up in my own sadness, I wish I had known that my Father was giving me an opportunity to look around and see other hurting people. I wish I had looked at Jesus more and learned from Him to comfort and guide others (John 16:12–15). He left the joy of heaven to care for our pain. He has promised to meet your deepest needs until He returns (Luke 10:25–37). 

Though you are a new creation, you will still sometimes feel afraid. What can you do? God knows we are fearful creatures, so cry to Him as David did—“When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). I wish I had known that reading God’s Word would give me courage, that taking His Truth into my mind and heart would strengthen me in whatever I faced. I wish I had known the consumption of daily bread is a matter of practical growth in faith (Luke 17:5). Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, not simply the first time, but throughout your whole life (Rom. 10:17). 

2. Fill your mind and heart with God’s love. 

God gives such good gifts—husbands, ice cream, babies, flowers. Some of God’s gifts last a lifetime and some melt away, but God’s greatest gifts last forever. And you are God’s child. You are loved with an everlasting love. He has adopted you into His forever family. Our Father gave His Son Jesus to us, and we can know that His care and all His promises are ours forever (Rom. 8:32). God loves loving us (Zeph. 3:17)! When it seemed I had no time for God’s Word, I wish I’d known to ask our Father to give me the time. When I lost my desire to read the Bible, I wish I’d known to read God’s Word anyway. Time spent with God is time growing in love for Him. 

Whether you love to pray or find it hard to do, the day will come when praying seems like a chore. I wish I’d known that anxiety might keep me from prayer, but if I persevered, He would often give me His peace even as I was praying. I wish I’d known that God guards our minds and hearts with His sovereign love, power, and Truth (Phil. 4:6–7). I wish I had known that praying is not a matter of, “if I don’t do this, the day will be awful.” Prayer is God’s love language. I wish I’d known that when a need popped into my mind, I could turn that into prayer. Love for our Father grows as we depend on Him (1 John 5:14–15). 

The time may come when you question, “Why am I going to church?” I wish I’d known that when God joined me to Christ, He joined me to His Church—to every believer everywhere. I wish I’d known that every church has problems, but that I needed my local church. We can’t live the Christian life by ourselves. When I felt dissatisfied, I wish I had asked God to show me where to serve in my church. I wish I had asked for a friend at church to pray for me and with me. I wish I had asked Him to show me someone to encourage with this truth—God loves me on my worst day as much as when I’m at my best. In church, we learn to love one another with Christ’s love (1 John 3:11).

3. Fill your mind and heart with God’s will.

In time you’ll realize how easily your heart exchanges loving God for what seems safer or easier to control (Rom.1:22–23). I wish I had known to ask myself, “Where do I turn for comfort?” The internet or refrigerator or going back to bed? Turning to anything other than God will only temporarily numb the pain. I wish I had known how easily I’d twist God’s good gifts—a child, position, prosperity, or even serving God apart from the goodness He intends. I wish I had asked for His help to turn to Him with all my problems (1 Thess. 1:9). Our Father promises us true satisfaction and fulfillment—more than we thought possible.

One day the disconnect between what you believe and the way you live will hit you. It may be a sin so small you’re tempted to forget it. It may be so big you can’t hide from it. Either way, discouragement may come. I wish I had taken an honest look at the way I used my time—hours spent on television, phone, and working overtime is time lost. Do you find it hard to break bad habits? I wish I’d known to ask God to help me make new, godly habits to drive out the old. I wish I’d known that simply exercising self-control is not the goal of Bible study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines, but that they are investments in eternity. Our Father promises us a higher joy than anything we have ever known.

You may wonder if it’s possible to love God’s will more than your own. I wish I had known that when I hurt someone with my words or actions, winning arguments wouldn’t bring joy, but asking for forgiveness does (1 John 1:8–10). I wish I had learned to ask for God’s help to make wiser choices. I wish I had known that as I obeyed, I would find God giving me power to do what He asked (Phil. 2:12–13). We can learn to ask our Father to help us do the right thing (2 Pet. 1:5–8). 

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Here’s the sad reality: without God’s help you will not fill your mind and heart with His Truth, love, and will (Rom. 3:10–11). God alone gives and sustains new hearts that love (1 Pet.1:22–23). I wish I had known to ask for His grace to give me the desire to seek Him daily (Eph. 2:8–9).

Finally, I wish I had known that every weakness was a gift—my Father’s invitation to know His love and power to do the impossible (2 Cor. 12:9). Do you want to know God and His love more? Greater joy and reward lies ahead when we seek Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Matt. 22:37; Heb. 11:6). This scriptural charge is for you, too: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

About the Author

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch is the author of A Better Than Anything Christmas (2020) and Making Room for Her: Wisdom for a Healthier Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law (2022). She served as director of the Children’s Division of Bible Study Fellowship … read more …

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