A Letter to My Teenage Self from Shannon

Dear Teenage Shannon,

Be yourself. Stop trying to mimic others. They’re not any cooler than you are, so stop feeling bad about yourself. God made you the individual you are. 

Don’t worry so much about what others think of you. Your audience is an audience of one. It only matters what God thinks of you.

You don’t have to dress immodestly to get the boys’ attention. They’ll notice, no matter what you wear. And if it takes immodest clothing to attract him, he’s not the kind of boy you need. (Your parents won’t allow it anyway, thank goodness.)

Stop being embarrassed by your parents. Some day, you’ll be in their shoes and realize how wise they are. And how much they love you. 

Start an exercise program now. That way, it’s second nature and when you’re older, it will already be part of your routine.

Don’t go to cosmetology school. You’ll only waste your parents’ money and get stuck doing your mother’s hair for life. Hairdressing isn’t glamorous. It’s hard, nasty, and exhausting. Stick with your first instinct: computers.

Even better—they’re books. Those stories in your head that you never know what to do with. Don’t wait until you’re thirty-three to figure that out. 

The move to rural Arkansas. Stop fighting it. Embrace your new home. You’ll grow to love it, never, ever want to live anywhere near a city again, and meet the love of your life there.

In fact, you’ve already met him. That new boy that lights your fire–the rumors are true–but be patient, God is working on him.

Pay more attention to young boys. Someday you’ll have one. The things he does and dirt he can find will astound you. 

Always remember. No matter what happens or what life throws at you, you’ve got Jesus to get you through.

Published by

Shannon Vannatter

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. Her rural Arkansas community boasts a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. She writes inspirational contemporary romance for Heartsong Presents. Learn more at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog.

11 thoughts on “A Letter to My Teenage Self from Shannon”

  1. Oh those teenage years with the insecurity and the boy drama. I think we all have that in common. So glad God grows us into women He can be proud of. Even if it does take us until our thirties (I was thirty five) to figure out what we want to do.

  2. Nicely done, Shannon. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we had that wisdom and foresight when we were teens? I suppose we had to learn it by experience so we could pass our wisdom on to our children. Hopefully, they’ll listen. 😉

  3. Isn’t it amazing that when we were kids we did’t realize everyone else was going through the same stuff. Only as adults do we realize we all felt the same way. We all had the same drama.

  4. Wonderful! I’ve often thought how great it would be to go back in time BUT keep all the wisdom gained over the years! LOL, but since we are who we are I bet we’d still have make the same mistakes all over again!

  5. Honestly, I had forgotten how dramatic teen years can be until my youngest hit her teens. I think I’ve just blocked out my oldest . . . lol

    Well done, my friend!! Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what we’d all think of one another had we met way back then?

  6. I should have added that exercise routine idea to my letter!

    I love the part about the rumors being true, but God working on him. Can you imagine how different your life would have been if you hadn’t stuck with Grant?

    If only we could help young women realize some of these things, but I guess they’ll have to discover them on their own–just as we have.

  7. I really enjoyed your post. It was very thought provoking. I’m sixty five and I’m not sure what I would tell my teenage self. It would be so easy to scare the daylights out of me. I think that is why God doesn’t tell us our future. I made big mistakes but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be the person I am. I guess I still need to think on it. Thank you again.
    Glenda Parker
    http://glendaparkerfictionwriter.blogspot.com

  8. I like the one about being yourself… even when you think you’re being yourself as a teenager, you’re still trying to fit in and be “normal.” Even though most of us, especially writers, are anything but normal!

  9. Hey all,
    I had a speaking engagement yesterday and had to cut out early.

    Shari,
    Yes, even the ones who seemed to want to make our drama worse were going through it. Oh hindsight.

    Kav,
    If only it worked like that. Kind of like, it would be cool if we didn’t have to go through all the parenting and then one day we just had a sensible 35 year old son. I’ve wished that.

    Regina,
    Oh great. Thanks for reminding me I get to do it again, only from boy perspective this time.

    Lorna,
    No. I totally can’t imagine my life without Grant. Don’t want to.
    Back when we worked with youth, everything we said seemed to go in one ear and out the other.

    Hey Glenda,
    Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes we could have scared the daylights out of our younger selves. Definitely.

    Marianne,
    I had to think on it awhile.

    Stephanie,
    What is normal anyway? I’m so glad I hang with writer friends and we’re all okay with hearing voices.

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