Dear 17 Year Old Girl

Why “A Letter to 17 Year Olds”? I recently received a blog comment voicing this thought, “I am 17. What is your advice? I would love to hear what you would do differently if you could go back to your teen years, what you regret doing, things you did that were a blessing, how you responded to critiques, how you managed your time/priorities differently then you do now…etc!”First of all, this age group is so very precious to me. I see such freshness, innocence, promise, and worth in all the beautiful young women I know that are in their teens. I have been privileged to meet hundreds all over the US, Canada, and Mexico and I just love them. The picture at the top of this post is me with two sweet teenage friends I was privileged to get to know during my time in Mexico last fall.17, 15, 18, 13….Yes, dear girl, this is for you. I decided to write a letter to you girls today. Imagine me and you sitting down for a fresh ice coffee or tea……me sharing a little bit of my heart with you, just as if you were the girl in the comment, asking what I regret about my teen years, and what I would do all over again….and all that stuff.

Here’s my letter to all you sweet girls:

Dear 17 Year Old (or whatever age you are),

You are so young and fresh, full of energy and dreams. But on your way to your dreams, there’s alot of doing to be done. The enemy of your soul wants so much for you to waste these precious years. Here’s what I regret doing at your age:

  • wasting time
  • not developing more personal discipline.
  • watching romance movies/reading romance novels.

I spent too much time surfing the internet, reading and watching things that weren’t worth much, and dreaming instead of doing. Don’t get me wrong, I did some things I am so grateful for (which I’ll tell you about soon) when I was 17, but I also wasted some precious time. I would really encourage you to evaluate VERY carefully how you spend your time. Ask someone older and wiser for advice, and realize that the decisions you make now will affect you and others for years to come.

The habits you develop now are forming the woman you’re becoming.

Here are some things I am so glad I did at 17:

  • spending time getting to know Jesus better- every minute in His Word and prayer was WELL SPENT! This is the MOST important thing I am so grateful for.
  • getting a job and saving money.
  • working on my relationship with my parents, including having late night chats, asking their counsel on decisions, and learning to honor them as an adult.
  • helping young mothers and learning from them.
  • honing new skills like landscaping, bookkeeping, writing, and natural remedies.
  • helping my mother around the house and learning from her.
  • seeking friendships that would help me grow.

Sweet girl, God has given you unique talents that can be a blessing to others RIGHT NOW! He looks at you and smiles, because He has an amazing plan for your life! He wants to be your best Friend. He can help you with the perplexing decisions and questions you may be facing. He will give you wisdom about that job, or friendship, or opportunity. 

One more thing that is really near to my heart is your relationship with your parents. They can invest so much into your life, and they will bring perspective and wisdom to topics like guys, education, and work. Don’t be scared to ask them to pray for you! Ask them for advice, and make it a priority to spend time with them. If your parents aren’t believers, seek out an older woman or a couple that can be mentors to you. 

You, my dear, are beautiful, and created in the image of God for good works which He has before ordained that you should walk in them! If you have been born again into His Kingdom, then you are His precious daughter. If you don’t know Him yet, He is waiting and hoping to start a relationship with you. I’d love to tell you more about this if you have questions!Sweet girl, the single most important thing you can do right now is to KNOW HIM.

A close relationship with Christ will be the foundation for all that is to come in your life.

Start each day spending time with Him, and He will become your very best friend. Talk to Him all day long and just delight in the joy of being His.

He will show you how to invest your time, how to spend your days. Your life will be blessed and full.

I am cheering for you, sister!

with much love,

-Allison

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19 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for this post=) Thank-you so very much for taking time out of your very busy life to answer my questions and do this wonderful post! I felt very encouraged(to keep doing things I’m doing+also to change a few areas!) I really appreciated your thoughts! May God bless you! Thank you Allison!

    1. Hannah, you are more than welcome! I am so glad if this post could be a blessing to you! Keep serving Jesus, friend. He has a plan for you!

  2. Thanks for this article!
    I have a question though-what exactly do you consider romance books/movies? What about classics like Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, ect? Do you consider those too romantic? I definitely don’t want to do something that isn’t honoring to God, but I DO love Pride & Prejudice.

    1. Hello “14 year old blog reader”:
      That is a great question! I didn’t mean to say that all books + movies containing romance are wrong. Not at all! Romance is a normal and beautiful part of life, but our culture twists it and ruins it so many times. I was specifically referring to some out of balance romance novels that I read, and a too-heavy diet of classic movies such as Pride and Prejudice. I think it takes some discernment in these matters, but for me personally, the newer romance books helped me in absolutely no way and actually were harmful. I do enjoy reading historical fiction that contains romance, and I think some of those classics like Jane Austin’s works can be fun occasionally, but for me it was too much at one point in my life. This is my recommendation:
      -take inventory of what you are reading/watching. How much of it is “romance” driven? I view it a little like unhealthy desserts- an occasional big cone of ice cream can be delicious and harmless, but on a regular basis, not so much. In fact, eating super sweet desserts very much can majorly damage your health and wellness.
      Does that make sense? Feel free to shoot me an email if you have more questions or if the above wasn’t clear! I do still watch Jane Austin movies, but very occasionally. The problem was when I was consuming them on a regular basis. Not all girls are exactly the same, so I think it takes personal discernment to decide what is best for you + your heart.
      love,
      Allison

  3. I love this post Allison! In fact I’m printing it and putting it in a binder of articles and blog posts that I want to go over with my girls when they become teenagers. Every moment of this life God has given us is so precious and I’m thankful for your reminder to not waste it on useless things! Love you dear friend!

    1. Kayla, you are so sweet! What a precious thing to do for your daughters. You are a wonderful example of intentional living. Love + miss you!

  4. Thank you SO much for this sweet and refreshing post, Alli! “The single most important thing you can do right now is to KNOW HIM.” Truth! Thank you for sharing your heart with us-I know that you are blessing so many!

    Psalm 31:5

  5. This was very encouraging! The things you mentioned doing at my age that you regret now are some of the very things I struggle with. So thank-you for sharing this post and reminding me of what matters! I appreciate your blog so much!

  6. Allison, thank you so much for this letter!!! This is so sweet and encouraging. I really appreciate your heart for young women, for wanting to encourage us live all out for Christ, to make the most of our young years, and to be the beautiful, godly women He has created us to be!!! Love you! <3

  7. Great job Allison. I would agree with you on all of this. I feel like something that I if I could go back and change during my 16-18 years especially is: don’t hang on to things that are holding you back from moving forward in your relationship with the Lord. I held onto a particular friendship longer than I should have, and I believe that if I had let go sooner, and spent that time with the Lord, I would have become closer to Him at that time, and thus would probably be closer to the Lord now. Thanks again Allison.

  8. Wonderful tips! Amen to cultivating a good relationship with your parents! I can honestly say they’re the hugest blessings in my life.

  9. Thanks so much, Allison! I appreciate your wise words a lot. 🙂 I don’t have any older sisters so this is super sweet for me. 🙂

    1. Ruby, this means so much to me! I hope I can be a little bit like a far-away older sister to you. I’m cheering you on!

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