By Lydia Anderson
My vision board was covered in dreams I didn’t believe in.
My heart also longed to make a difference. Sentimental Christmas movies and assigned readings taught me that a lot of people had broken hearts. Being human meant being susceptible to things like cancer, poverty, and injustice. I found a few volunteer opportunities nearby, but... I was “too young” to drive that far. What could a kid do anyways?
These things were definitely the desires of my soul, but “too young” was the doubt that prevented me from even approximating these goals.
“Too young” is a thief.
White, sunny beaches and European castles decorated my fantasies and I definitely wanted to explore the world. Travel, though, cost money and I felt too young to leave the country alone. Plus, few jobs gave fourteen year olds a chance. After a couple failed searches, I resigned to a state of pitiful hopelessness. Maybe one day (when I was older) I’d be able to see the world.
With a whole bunch of non-glamorous work, dreams can and will become a reality. I think that this is where a lot of us get caught up. Working for hours on end for minimum wage has zero instant gratification. Work means self-restraint when it would be so much easier to go to the party.
More than laziness and lack of motivation, however, lies a more terrifying prospect: work requires risk and tons of failure. If this is the fear that prevents our efforts now, it will continue to do so--even when our dreams are within reach. Failure exists in dreams too.
“Too young” is a crutch.
The reality is that you and I are eternal beings. Though we may have only been on earth twelve, thirteen, or twenty-one years, our spirits have existed for millennia. Before mortality, we fought valiantly for truth and Heavenly Father knows everything we can achieve in life. With these truths in mind, do we have the audacity to assert that we are too young?
Age isn’t the only excuse we use. If we’re not “too young,” we’re “too broke,” “too awkward,” “too dumb,”or too whatever. What that’s really saying is that we’re too focused on human limitations.
I get it--I do--and I still use these excuses. Some days, life’s battles appear so impossible it seems easier to avoid the war altogether. Our minds trick us into thinking that there’s no failure if we don’t try. Perhaps that’s true, but our chances of success are also a guaranteed zero until we accept the risk of failure.
What I’ve learned from years and years of sitting out battles is that there’s no joy in living a portion of our potential. We may be young and broke and awkward and dumb. We’re also eternal sons and daughters of God. We have prayer. We have friends and family. We have talents (even if we can’t perform them on a stage or hang them in a museum.) When we give all of our time, work, and focus to our strengths, not a single failure or shortcoming will matter in the end. Conversely, if we allow shortcomings and fear of failure to hold us back, it will be all we see when we look back on our lives.
Start today and refuse to let “too young” limit your potential.