It's such an honor to be able to write just for you girls this time. I love being able to share with you some of the most important lessons I've learned over the past couple years about being a woman and being a Catholic. It took me a long time to learn these things! I hope you can put this advice to good use in your own life.
Emotions are not bad, but don’t let them control you. If you're sad, cry. If you're angry, let it out in a healthy way (like exercise, or venting on paper). If you're happy and you know it shout 'hurray.' That idea is not original, actually.
The point is, don't bottle up your emotions inside because later they'll explode. Trust me, I did it all the time … both the bottling and the exploding part. Being a woman means feeling a lot of different emotions. We get kind of a bad rap for that. But we don't have too!
You have the power to use your emotions for good. When you're upset about something, ask God to comfort you and heal the wound. In the future you'll be a more compassionate and empathetic person because you know what it's like to hurt. Instead of acting out against someone when they make you angry, take just 10 seconds to cool off before you say something you'll regret.
Don't let your emotions control you … there’s a strong woman beneath that emotion and a wiser woman after that emotion.
Did You Hear?
Don’t gossip and try not to listen to gossip. Every time I do, I feel terrible afterwards.
What if I spill some nasty rumor I heard about a guy named Phil to my friend Emma. Before, Emma never thought badly of Phil or questioned his motive for something. Now though, every time she sees him, she thinks of what I told her and can't help but think of Phil in an uncharitable way. And who's fault is that? It's my fault for introducing those mean thoughts.
There are so many people hurt by gossip. You hurt yourself, those you gossip to, and those you're talking about. Once a priest told me, 'Don't talk about other people's issues or problems unless you have a serious reason or need to do something constructive about it.'
What Do I Do?
Spiritual direction … get it. There are usually about 56 things going on in my heart … on a good day. Who doesn’t need objective, drama-free advice once in a while? I was totally scared of spiritual direction. And now that I think about it . . . I can't really remember why.
You can share whatever you're comfortable with and in exchange get free, Catholic advice. This has been a huge blessing in my life and one of the reasons I'm the person I am today. Find someone you can trust. It's great to have a priest or nun because they have special graces from God. However, if you ask your diocesan office, they probably have some lay spiritual directors too!
Help Me Feel Better
Don't lean on anything or anyone but Jesus when you're low. Chocolate, boys, spending money . . . whatever it is you rely on to help you feel better, how long does it work? How long until you need more chocolate, a different guy's attention, more clothes and shoes?
There's a Jesus sized hole in your heart and until you let Him be the one to fill it, everything else won't satisfy. Sit with Jesus in prayer, journal and tell Him how you feel, what's upset you. Open up Scripture and let Him love you through His words. It's great to have other people to support you but ultimately, you have to let Jesus have that #1 spot in your heart.
Get Off the Scale
Do you care if you best friend gains a couple pounds on her hips? She's your best friend for a lot of reasons and the size of her hips is not one of them. (At least it shouldn't be!) People feel the same way about you … no one cares if you have a little gut.
You're not going to be happier by obsessing over your weight and feeling guilty about every little thing you eat. Let it go. Of course, you have to be healthy and a good diet and regular exercise are part of what makes you a well rounded, balanced person. All I'm saying is don't go overboard, don't stress about it.
If it matters to the people you hang around … go hang around new people. You are beautiful because you are a woman, not because you've achieved a size 2 at Hollister.
Wait For It
So I can't finish this advice without talking about boys. If I could tell you girls one thing, it would be this … wait for the man who God intended for you.
Try not to just date so that you won’t be lonely. Date someone who respects you. Dating can be a great way to understand guys better … how they think, how to communicate with them . . . etc. When you meet your future husband do you want to tell him about all the guys you've screwed around with, or tell him about the guys who've helped you become a better person? There's a big difference.
Don’t forget though that it's never too late to recommit to purity. When we're forgiven by God, the past is forgotten. He said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' (Revelation 21:5)
Last Thing . . .
Being a woman is an incredible blessing. Look to our mamma Mary as a model and pray to her to help you understand what kind of woman God wants you to be. I hope you can take all this advice to heart because it came from mine.
Last thing – just one word girls: pinterest.