Embracing Seventeen

Embracing Seventeen.png

i.

 

I turned seventeen this past Sunday – on April second, two-thousand seventeen.

 

If you don’t know me personally, you may not have known my age until now.

 

And it’s not as if it’s a secret – I simply decided a while ago that I didn’t want people to judge me or my writing on my age alone, or have to try and explain when I mention school that I’m a college student, even though I’m supposed to be a high school student, and kind of still am for a few more months.

 

(See? Complicated.)

 

But something hit me really hard last week. I was talking to some college friends, and coming to the realization that the average age of the majority of my friends is around twenty years old.

 

And it’s funny – because I joke about it all the time, the fact that I forget that I’m not twenty, myself.

 

But it’s more than just a joke.

 

After spending almost an entire week discussing everything under the sun with a dear friend, a friend that’s my own age, I realized how important it was that I don’t forget that I’m only seventeen.

 

I’ll only ever be seventeen once.

ii.

 

During a conversation last week, I caught myself saying something that I hadn’t completely thought through until I heard myself speak it.

 

I said, “I’m realizing that I’m at a different place in my life than the majority of you – and my views on things have to be a little different than yours are. Because that’s a good, healthy thing.”

 

I’m not twenty.

 

I’m not graduating from college anytime soon, honestly.

 

I don’t need to worry about careers or apartments or life insurance right now.

 

I don’t need to worry about marriage, because I’m nowhere near ready — which means I don’t think it’s right for me to be dating right now, either.

 

And it’s not like I don’t desire those things; not at all. I look forward to the days of dressing up for a job I love, signing on a home to call my own, and having a husband and children.

 

But I know full-well that those things are not for me right now. I must wait for them, for I am not ready for them nor they for me.

 

I’m seventeen, not twenty, or twenty-five, or thirty-two.

 

Those years will come, Lord willing, along with those opportunities that I desire. But they’re not for right now — and I’m slowly learning that it’s a good thing.

 

iii.

 

Seventeen means a lot of things for me right now, and I don’t want to get so caught up in the future that I forget to live in today.

 

It’s so easy to take today for granted, to mentally live for tomorrow, for that next thing.

 

It’s easy for me to dream of a life I don’t have, a life I think I want, and feel dissatisfied in the life I’m living because I can’t have that life now.

 

I don’t want to be dissatisfied; I want to be content in anything and everything, messes and all, right where I am.

 

And as I pondered yesterday with another group of friends: when we make contentment about getting the next best thing, that once we do blank we’ll finally be content, we miss what contentment is about in the first place.

 

It’s about having joy in the here and now, regardless of possessions, of situations, of opportunities or relationships or lack thereof.

 

Ultimately, it’s about Jesus.

 

It’s focusing on Him above all else, seeing what He has done, His love that outweighs all of our sin, His perfection lavished upon us, His sacrifice that shows us how fierce, how high, how deep, and how vast His love is.

 

It’s about seeing the greater work of salvation in our lives, the significance of that, and how it majorly overshadows any other thing that we might (and do) desire.

 

Contentment is about joy in salvation, in grace, and friendship with God, even when we’re not bubbling over with happiness, because this relationship far outweighs all others.

 

When I tie my personal contentment to how I imagine my future home will look, to those Latin words on my college degree, to the fantasies of the size of my paycheck, to my ideas of #relationshipgoals – I’m always going to come up disappointed. Because even when those things do seem to work out, there will always be something more.

 

And I don’t want to live for that one more thing.

 

I want to live in this moment, this day, this year of being seventeen that God has given me.

 

Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

iv.

 

I want to embrace seventeen this year; I’ll only be at this place once.

 

I may only have these opportunities for this year.

 

I want to serve God with the person I am today, not the future Amanda who may or may not be what I imagine her to be.

 

I’m not perfect, and I never will be, and nor will I ever live the so-called “perfect life.”

 

I choose this year to live the life God gives me – to be the person that He wants me to be right now – to follow Him where He leads me at seventeen, twenty, thirty-three, and fifty-one. And forever.

 

I’ll only be seventeen once, and there is a reason for that.

 

I have unique opportunities this year that I may never have ever again.

 

I have people in my life to encourage, I have words that need writing, a family that needs loving, a church that needs tending, an education that needs pursuing, books that need reading, knowledge that needs attaining – and this year is a good year to begin.

 

So what will I do in the meantime, in this waiting period?

 

v.

 

I will not sit idly by, and wait to arrive at my future; waiting must always be active.

 

I will serve God, my family, and my friends.

 

I will seek to become who God has for me to be, to follow the Holy Spirit and let Him grow me and bring fruit into my life.

 

I will learn to love others now, even when it’s difficult, uncomfortable, and I’m uneasy.

 

I will learn to be patient, and to let God bring me to where He wants me to be, not just where I think I should be.

 

I will learn to listen, not just speak.

 

I will learn to live out grace, every day, extending it to others, just as God extends it to me.

 

I will embrace seventeen, and not try to run from it.

 

The future will come – but I am learning to be content right here and now.

 

And I’m looking with exhilaration to seeing what this year will bring.

 

aj

*aj

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47 thoughts on “Embracing Seventeen

  1. Really great article, it drew me in and I just had to keep reading! I can relate, as someone who skipped a grade and will be doing dual enrollment. I tend to think, well what if I was more ahead… what about those people that graduate college at 18? Then I could start my writing career early and everything would be wonderful… oh, wait, that’s not reality. It’s exciting to look to the future and plan how I think I can serve the Lord best in it, but it’s also important to live in the now. This reminds me of Jim Eliot’s quote “Wherever you are, be all there”.

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    • This is a fabulous comment. So much yes.
      I think it’s harder for us, being “ahead of the game” academic-wise, that we can think that if others can graduate college at 18 (and no joke, that was my goal for years), then that means is possible for us to do so as well — and therefore we should.
      But, as I’ve been learning this year, just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it’s right for me to do it.

      We can’t live in the future. We have to live right here where we are — because that’s where God has us.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Olivia!

      Like

  2. This is really an amazing post, Amanda!!
    I, too, have been thinking about these sorts of things. In a lot of ways our situations are alike!!
    I’m sixteen, am probably starting college this January, have friends older than me, and been thinking about this exact same thing.
    My sister once told me, the reason we always seem to be waiting for the next thing is because we aren’t made for this world. There’s always going to be another thing we think we need because we are made for the best thing ever. Heaven.
    Last year I kept thinking about what I would do when I moved out of my parents house. Where I would go, where would I work, with whom do I see myself friends with?
    And it struck me how UNREADY I was!! I felt so immature, so unprepared, and I told myself, “You got three years, hon. Hop to it!”
    And I made a list of things I wanted to change in myself and my flaws I wanted to correct and what good habits I wanted to form, and have been slowly working through them.
    It is so hard to be patient!!
    As I’m sure you know.
    The point of my story was that I am exactly where you are now, and I thought I’d let you know that I really understand!!
    And even when we make these resolutions. Even when we know what we will do, and how to do it, there’s those speed bumps up ahead that jolt us back to reality and it sure as heck hurts.
    I know because I’ve been there.
    I’m sure you have too.
    Anyway, sorry this comment was so ridiculously long!!
    Happy Birthday, Amazing Amanda!!
    (P. S. I make birthday poems on my blog for people, do you mind if I do you in my April edition??)
    ~E
    scribblingpencils.blogspot.com

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    • I’m so sorry for the late reply!
      Wow, our situations do sound alike — so thank you for sharing your story with me. I appreciate that, and I can definitely relate as to how hard it is to truly live in each moment and serve God right where we are.
      And of course I don’t mind if you put me in your poem! I’d be so honored.
      Thank you for the comment, and welcome to Scattered Journal Pages!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this for so many reasons! Amanda, you’re such a brilliant young woman and yes, you have a lot to look forward to, but darlin’ you’re spot on. Dreaming about tomorrow wastes today! You are making a difference now! You are living an abundant life now! Never forget that, yes God’s in the future, but He’s also in the moment. Happy Birthday, sweet friend! ❤

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  4. Happy (slightly belated) Birthday, Amanda!

    I just absolutely love this post. Seventeen is a wonderful age, one that I am not looking forward to leaving behind later this year. 😦 But this post has given me hope that, even though I’m going to be eighteen (blech), my life is going just how God planned it, and I shouldn’t be afraid of what comes next. 🙂 It’s hard to trust that sometimes, but I’m going to focus on the opportunities that open up, rather than the fact that I’m nearing adulthood, haha! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kenzie!
      Ah yes, I can relate – focusing in on the here and now is often underrated with the excuse that we have to prepare for the future, but we can’t forget that every day is a piece of the future we’ve waited for our whole lives.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday, Amanda! I love this post!

    I’m fifteen, but sometimes I feel older than my age as well. This year for a school project I had to pretend as through I were twenty-three, fresh out of college, and plan a budget for a month’s cost of living. It’s so exciting to think about how my life will be different in eight years, and all the things I’ll be on my way to accomplishing, all my dreams I hope to fulfill. But I’ll only ever be fifteen once, just like I’ll only ever be twenty-three once. I think it’s important to embrace every age and season. It’s easy to forget that I’m accomplishing things right now. That I only have a handful of years before I no longer spend everyday with my sister, or current group of friends. I’m going to miss it all one day, after all. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Emily!
      Oh, that sounds like such a fun project!
      You’re so right. It’s so important that we embrace and enjoy every age we experience — and foster contentment right here and now.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  6. Pingback: ReBlog @ The Stylish Dreamer #SpreadSmiles Contest + My Positivity Poem Entry – My Bookish Life

  7. Love, love, love. ❤

    I think it's so important to realize that you can be mature, tossing out low expectations, and going full throttle…and still be young. It’s not wrong to savor the moments of being a teenager. It doesn’t mean we’re wasting those moments. There are things that we can do while we’re young that we will not be able to do in our twenties or thirties or beyond. We probably have more time for hobbies, for developing those gifts and talents we’ve been given. We have more time to explore, more time to read, more time to learn things that we just want to learn for the sake of learning them. That’s something my debate teacher has been telling me. Cherish these years where you have freedom to live and learn, freedom that you will not have as a twenty-something married and with kids. That will be a wonderful stage of life as well, but it’s different and for good reason! It’s so easy for us young achievers to forget that doing important things now doesn’t mean we need to do the SAME important things as the older ones. And that’s not an accident. It’s how it was meant to be.

    Thanks for this post. 🙂

    Like

    • AMANDA. YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON WITH THIS. It’s always so easy for me to think that once I turn twenty-one (or whatever that ‘older age’ is), that things will be better for me, that I’ll have more opportunities, whatever it may be.
      But if I never learn to cherish the now, I’ll never be able to cherish the future when I’m living in it, either.
      Thank you for this wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy belated birthday, Amanda! Thank you for this! I don’t think I’ve taken the time to see from this perspective, and it’s really applicable for me:)

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  9. Happy birthday, Amanda ❤ what a great post! The time really does go by so so fast and it's so important to be content here where you are. Thanks for sharing here girl 🙂

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  10. Happy happy Birthday Amanda!!

    I love this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear, even though I didn’t know I needed to hear it, until I read it, lol! I just turned 16, and am far ahead of most of my peers in school, and nearly all of my friends are 19 and older. Thank you for reminding me to embrace 16, and where I am right now. ❤

    Like

  11. Happy Birthday, Amanda!
    Seventeen is an interesting, yet exciting age. I’ve got a few months left to see how much I can fit in before I’m labeled with the dreaded “18.” I’ve been thinking about this so much recently! I like what you said, “I don’t want to be dissatisfied; I want to be content in anything and everything, messes and all, right where I am.” It sums up everything. Thanks for another inspiring post!
    – Megan Joy

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  12. Happy birthday! I honestly thought you were older than seventeen (or sixteen, rather) too. Anyway, there’s so much goodness in this post. I especially appreciated your thoughts on contentment – that fact that it’s not even about things and what we have or don’t have – it’s about a relationship with God. I hope seventeen is an amazing year for you, Amanda. xx

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  13. Happy birthday!I can relate to you easily on the maturity aspect. Most of my friends are in their 20s also (from 19-24), and I feel like I can connect with them so much easier than my peers 16-17. I turned 17 a few months ago, and while I feel like nothing’s changed about me since then (but I will over time!) I do feel the looming pressure of adulthood sitting ever so subtly on my shoulders. It’s important to focus on the now, but with the future in mind. You don’t want to throw away each day fretting about tomorrow, and I’ve done that way too many times already. I haven’t done my best serving God each day, but that should always be our focus first and foremost. When we do this, everything else falls into place and becomes much clearer. I pray that is the way it will be with you ❤ May 17 be a good year!

    Like

    • Thank you, Grace!
      Ah, yes. Sometimes it seems like people a few years older are easier to get along with, doesn’t it?
      You’re so right – serving God above all else is so important, and it guides us with the rest of our lives.
      Thanks again! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy birthday! I love this SO MUCH!! So beautifully​ written! So true, and so relatable. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder to live in the moment and trust God with the future.

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  15. Happy Birthday girl!!
    I hope 17 is the best year yet, with more Jesus, friends, and peace 🙂
    This was a wonderfully inspiring post ❤ Thank you Amanda!
    -Faith

    Like

  16. What a beautiful reminder to all of us! I love how fluent you are in expressing things I know in my heart…but find it hard to get out on a systematic blog post like this one. 🙂 It’s so refreshing to hear things from another sister in Christ that are so close to my heart as well. Thank you so much for this inspiration, and I hope you have a fabulous 17th year! 😀

    Like

  17. “I want to serve God with the person I am today, not the future Amanda who may or may not be what I imagine her to be.” . . . Wow. That hit me hard. In a good way of course. This whole post too. …Thanks. I’m seventeen too.

    God bless you, Amanda, and happy seventeen!

    Like

  18. Happy birthday, Mandy ❤

    I totally agree. I often times forget my own age, being that I look older than most of the girls my age, and that my maturity is also somewhat higher, AND I'm a grade above what I should be. I'm constantly being told, "Wow, i thought you were older!" that I keep forgetting my actual age.
    So, I guess I can suffice to say, I needed this. 😀

    (So sorry I haven't commented yet! I tried to post this the other day, but the site wouldn't load on my phone, and I've been forgetting to get on my computer *hides*)

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  19. I really love how this is structured! And the post was so relatable, too. I’m 17 as well and have just blogged about it too, but I really love the way you captured it. Happy Birthday! Enjoy being 17 🙂

    Like

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