You are nearing the end of childhood, entering adulthood, and things are looking . . . different. And there’s so much that I wish I could tell you, so much trouble I wish I could save you, but how can I transfer the things from my mind to yours—a mind-meld perhaps? Nope. It may work on Star Trek, but that’s not how knowledge is passed, nice though it would be sometimes.

I wish I could tell you that you can’t perfect yourself. Everyone seems to see the areas that we need to change, letting us know in no uncertain terms. We often feel that everything about us is wrong. And where in the world do we start to make the necessary changes? How in the world can we make everybody happy with us and be perfect people? Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about—being perfect like Jesus? How can we show a watching world how wonderful He is when we mess up all the time??? When I begin to see all of my problems and feel that I can’t please anyone, I become overwhelmed and frustrated and I despair of ever being the person I’m supposed to be. The more I try, the more I fail at it and the more criticism I find heaped upon my head from friends, parents, employers, and even those who don’t know me very well: I had one lady who had just met me tell me that I needed to be more adventurous! “Thanks, lady! How do I even judge the validity of what you are saying about me?” I wondered.

I wish I could help you understand that God’s got the perfecting thing under control. The word “perfect” in the New Testament usually does not refer to sinlessness but to completeness and maturity—the very things we want, right? The very things that people are expecting of us! But it comes through His working in us at the pace which He knows we can handle. Paul the Apostle in Philippians 1:6 reminded the believers that God was working in them—God had started a work in them and would not leave it half-finished. As humans, we often leave things half-finished or abandon things that we used to like or used to think important; small wonder, then, that we fear God will abandon us. Don’t want to admit that fear? The Psalmist David admitted it time after time and God never ever abandoned him, even though he was far from “perfect.” Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith”: He started it and promises to continue it until the work is done—it’s a for-sure thing.

I wish I could tell you what I am learning about resting in God and His work in my life. Hebrews 3-4 talks about resting from our own works in the whole sanctification process—we weren’t saved by our own works, and we won’t become mature through our own efforts. Instead, we need to rest in God’s work. That’s work enough, though definitely un-flashy and unimpressive (but, hey! Being impressive rarely works with people and never works with God!). It’s a relationship that you need with the God of the universe. Instead of trying to sort though the conflicting messages that come from all those around you, come to Him first to find out what He thinks of you (scary thought at first) and to let Him strengthen you and change you in His way. And the funny thing about His way is that it is far less overwhelming than self- or others-induced change. He will grow you up and make you the person you really, deep-down want to be. He is already growing you—naturally and gently like a plant rising up to meet the sunlight. Go to Him every day to be reminded of this. Take to Him the opinions of others. Go to Him in His Word, and listen to what He is saying to you; ask Him your questions; tell Him your deepest darkest secrets (He already knows them anyway). Get to know HIM.

This is my prayer for you. I just wish I could tell you.