I have to start this out with one incredibly vital point.
I loved and adored every one of my Young Women’s leaders. This post is not an attack on their teachings or advice. I know they left parts of their hearts and souls on the table when they taught on Sunday. I am so thankful for their examples.
This is for every Laurel-aged girl who needs to hear what I needed to hear, from someone who knew exactly what I was going through.
I’m a 20-year-old Church Education System college student. When I was sixteen, I saw myself doing exactly what I’m doing now; college, dating, roommates, great job, my own car. It’s great! It really is.
But when I was sixteen and making my perfect life-plan, I didn’t plan for the speed-bumps that I’ve run into. Most of mine have come from dating silly boys, spending my time unwisely, and just not knowing.
So here’s some advice from someone who truly has been there. Please, listen.
1. You are not already-chewed gum.
If anyone ever says that to you, I want you to completely ignore it. The atonement of Jesus Christ is real and no matter what you have done, it is for you. The point of this life is to come closer to our Savior and Father. The only way to do that is to use the atonement.
In no way, shape or form are you someone’s already-chewed anything. You are light and life and love. You are a glorious mixture of Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, your earthly father, and your earthly mother. All have given you important and sacred traits. Use them wisely. But never, under any circumstances, let anyone tell you that you are less. Because dear, you are worth more than you even know.
Let Christ in. Let His love fill you up and make you whole. Let Him help you. I promise if you do, the changes in your life will astound you.
2. Understand why God gave us the ability to procreate.
Let’s talk about marital intimacy. Before you start squirming in your seats or sing “I Am a Child of God” to yourself, let me explain something.
In Genesis 4:1 it says “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord” (Emphasis added).
Girls, use those wonderful brains of yours and tell me, what is God trying to tell us with the word “know?” Marital intimacy has been alive and well since the literal beginning of man. God started us out on the right foot by giving us urges and desires to accompany our earthly life. Because of those mortal yearnings, we can make babies. Why then, is “sex” thought of the way it is?
Heavenly Father sure isn’t giving us that idea! He’s commanded us to cleave unto our spouses and no one else. We’ve been told to procreate. So where in the word is the stigma of sex coming from?
My dear friends, sexual intimacy, the binding power that belongs between a husband and wife, is “bad” because the adversary has made it so. It makes sense that Satan would attack the authentic, God-given gift we have to multiply and replenish the earth with because when we are using that power correctly, we are living the pattern of heaven.
Why do you think the power to continuously procreate is reserved for the highest degree of the highest kingdom of Glory? That power goes to the righteous of heart, who were good stewards of their time on earth.
Do you realize the magnitude of that, sisters? You have, right now in your body, the power of God. It is not dirty. It is not wrong. It is not to be taken lightly. It is sacred.
Know this. The media has twisted our views and perceptions on intimacy. We see crass images and vulgar words that depict a casualness our spirits know to be false. God did not ever intend for His extraordinary daughters to view their power to create and bear children as anything but what it is; glorious.
Use that power wisely. Take heed to prophet’s warnings and listen to God’s voice. I promise you, when you’re ready to take that step into marriage and begin your family, the power of this gift will be testified unto you.
3. Your worth does not depend on a mission, engagement, or a 4.0.
You will graduate high school. You will (hopefully) go to some sort of college or higher-level education facility. Some of your friends will go on missions. Some will get married. Maybe you know a mission is right for you, or that the guy you’ve been dating would make a fantastic eternal companion. Or maybe you don’t.
Please. Please. Please. Just like you are not to let anyone tell you you’re chewed gum, do not let anyone make you feel like your worth is dependent upon any worldly condition.
Missions are GREAT. I LOVE MISSIONS.
Marriage is GREAT. I LOVE MARRIAGE.
Straight A’s are GREAT. I LOVE THEM.
But. I also love you. And because I love you, I need you to know that if any one of those things doesn’t happen for you, or if NONE of them happen for you, it is okay. You still matter. Just breathe.
There is nothing in this whole world that is more important than your relationship with your Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ. Nurture those relationships. Put yourself in situations where the spirit can accompany you, so that you can make wise choices that will draw you nearer to Them. Don’t let people around you tell you that if you do this, then you’ll be worth something.
You are already worth everything. If a mission is something that will draw you nearer to your Savior and your God, then do it. If marriage will, then do that. If working hard to get good grades does that, then please, go right ahead.
But if these things don’t happen for you when they are happening for your friends, remember that Jesus atoned for you, too.
He didn’t compartmentalize anyone. Your married friends are not on the “To Be Save First,” list. Nether are those of them who have High Honors in school. Your salvation is dependent upon what you do with your time.
4. Understand what a healthy relationship looks like.
So remember that one Nicholas Sparks movie where the guy and girl like, fall in love at first sight? And remember the part where they unhealthily prioritized their time and skipped over vital red flags that were screaming “THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. STOP. GO BACK NOW!” Or, the time where they went way too far physically and confused the natural and very real chemicals that come with sexual intercourse with “true love?”
Yeah. So do I.
Dear, that is not real.
It’s like the difference between vinyl and digital music (by the way, if you don’t know what vinyl is, don’t tell me because I will cry sad tears for your soul).
When Compact Disc’s (CD’s) started getting really popular, the authentic and “old time-y” vinyl sound went away. People became obsessed with this new, synthesized, almost-too-perfect-and-way-too-unattainable-sound. (Thanks T-Pain. Your auto-tune killed the moment.)
We can relate unhealthy relationships to CD’s; pretty and shiny to look at, but almost uncomfortably fake, and recognizably impossible to copy. An unhealthy relationship is one where one or more of the participants feel the need to put on a show for others. Anything in a relationship that is not genuine is not good. You should be able to show your true colors to someone without fear of it being too much, or not enough. Unrealistic, or “plastic” expectations will leave you wanting every time.
Don’t fret either, because there are such things as “vinyl relationships,” or healthy ones. The greatest thing about vinyl is that it really makes you part of the moment. You can hear the bass player plug in his amp, or the guy in the back shuffling through his pockets for his pick. You hear the breaths and sneezes, coughs and laughs. Those real, genuine, healthy relationships, where you are both aware of one another’s flaws but are working together to be whole, those are the relationships that will last.
Be aware that both girls and boys your age are still developing. Like, legitimately, your brain isn’t done growing. You literally do not have a whole brain. So maybe it would be wise to not make hasty decisions when you’re not at full-power? There’s a reason adults are able to think things through differently than young-adults; they have a whole brain to do it with!
Remember that you are so loved and so important. God is only as far away as you make Him, and the atonement is real. Let the Spirit prompt you and trust that God has your best interests at heart, because He really does.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for Part Two. Because it’s coming.