You are almost 16 months old. You love to play with cards, books, and electrical cords. You like Baby Einstein and the Shaytards on YouTube, especially the dog and the blonde little boy. You are learning language and communication in a way that stuns your parents. If you are already imagining what you want to be when you grow up, it doesn’t show. You seem completely content with playing with rolls of toilet paper and learning to fit together mega bloks. But you will some day. You will wonder what your purpose is and where you fit in. These are some things I muse about telling you as you begin to ask those questions.
Do the Next Right Thing.
Part of learning focus and, therefore, victory is learning to do the next right thing. That might be doing the dishes. It might be relaxing and spending time with loved ones. It might be trying out for something that intimidates you, or starting a blog or YouTube channel.
“How you do anything is how you do everything,” my yoga teacher Dave Farmar taught me. He was so right. 15 minutes on the mat concentrating on one thing, and I could focus for the rest of my day on anything I chose. My mind and time were my own. I decided what to think about. It’s a powerful feeling and it’s called focus. You’re not being led astray by every distressing, shiny, or curious thought.
Mother Teresa says, “We cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
If you can’t do the dishes, hand out yoga mats, or clean the bathroom with great love, if you call any of these things grunt work and believe them to be beneath you, I do not believe you’ll find true success. And real, honest, hard-working people won’t have time for your kind of talent.
But focus on one small task with love and excellence, and the right work will find you.
People can be angels in disguise.
The Bible tells us that. You should treat every person you meet like they are a king or queen, not wonder how important they are. Respect everyone. Show genuine love to everyone. This will take different forms with different people, of course. It may mean putting your arm around the bullied kid at school and standing up to the bully. But even standing up to bullies should be done without hatred. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Don’t treat people differently just because you think they might be famous or on their way to being famous. They’ll see this and avoid you. And it hurts. Nobody wants to be valued for the opportunity they bring to someone else.
There are people you’ll love with all your heart and they will stab you in the back. It will feel terrible. Like you wasted your love. Don’t let it change who you are. Keep being humble, kind, and faithful in the little things. Remove these people from your life and let God take care of the mess. Don’t try to fix it yourself. Remember that nobody can steal your light, your destiny, your love, or your character. Those are the things that matter.
Take time to quiet your soul.
If you don’t do this, your voice will be lost in the cacophony of copycats that this world has become.
If you don’t do this, you’ll lose touch with yourself.
If you don’t do this, you’ll forget who you are and what you believe.
If you don’t do this, you’ll speak in sound bytes instead of profound truth and you’ll be lumped into a group of people who are supposed to believe certain things but who really don’t know what they believe at all.
God gave you every talent he gave you for a reason.
Every single one. I am 35 and still haven’t figured out all the reasons I have such intense loves for language, coding, music, and writing. I love my web design and coding job. My love for languages and design led me to start a business with Nate (your Daddy) that we both enjoy and that lets us work together. But I can’t help feeling that there is more. I am also trying to get that first children’s book published.
I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
So develop those talents. Don’t apologize for committing time and money to them. But at the same time, be patient with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others ever. Follow what inspires you instead. And believe in the God who put those talents and desires inside of you. He knows what makes you tick. And He knows why He made you. He’ll help you find your way.
Surround your life with positive people.
I can’t emphasize this enough. People who drag you down won’t help you find your mission in life. They won’t add to the fire in your soul. Surround your life with positive people even if all you can find sometimes are good books. Good books are the best friends someone can have sometimes. Nurture a few good friendships rather than desiring to be popular. Being popular stinks. It doesn’t add to your character, which is premium. Don’t desire fame as much as you desire true friendship — the kind that sharpens you like iron sharpens iron. (And don’t desire success as much as you desire hard work.)
Remember that the Bible says, “The companion of fools will be destroyed.” Choose your close friends wisely, but love everyone equally.
Remember that the truth wins out in the end.
It doesn’t always look like it in this world. But it does. Leave it to God. Be brave, however small you feel. God holds up the humble. He speaks through the truthful. He remembers the brave.
“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Whenever you go through a situation where falsehood seems to be winning, where injustice seems to be taking the throne, remember those words and let them sink deeply into your soul.
I’d rather lose with the truth than win with falsehood.
Truth wins out in the end. Love is stronger than hate. And you can never snuff out light, even in the greatest darkness.
I love you, Anneka.