Letters To My Younger Self – “Taming Ambition”

Don’t take your dreams too seriously.

I’m not kidding.

You’ve been told (and rightly so) that you have the potential to become whatever you want and pursue whatever you choose, but don’t get so caught up in the getting there that you reject the stunning beauty of the season you’re in right now.

Your identity isn’t dictated by a time on a race clock or by setting a new race record. You won’t be any more of who the Lord made you to be with more gold tinted medals in that box in your closet. That perfect GPA and stellar college resume doesn’t mean nearly as much as you think.

I can see you rolling your eyes at this – “that’s what everyone says, but they’re not me – and they just don’t get it”.

I get it, believe me, I get it.

I know that you’re so wrapped up in your own ambition, however honorable and focused it may be, that you’re passing over moments and memories. And I know that in a few years, all that tireless effort for the perfect resume and a spot in a top college running program will just be a past story and a distant memory. (And someday, believe it or not, you’ll even smile with gratitude for that!)

Loosen up a bit. Go out with your friends. Buy the clothes you like even when you feel like you can’t pull them off. Don’t sweat getting a B on that test and don’t let those insecure pretty girls make you doubt your own beauty. Eat the food that isn’t necessarily the healthiest or best for performance, but enjoy it. Pick up your camera and savor all those glorious moments driving around town with your best friend, climbing mountains, and just chatting together. Savor the smells and sounds and colors of that small town, and store forever in your mind the way you feel when you toe the line, competitive anticipation pulsing in your legs. Fly, beautiful girl, and savor every single step.

But, more than anything, dive into HIS dreams for you. At the beginning, middle, and end of this, God is the only ambition worth chasing. Get to know Him and His heart more than you even know your own. And when He starts sparking things in that heart of yours – go for it girl, with even more gusto and perseverance and determination than you now give to your own dreams.

Where He takes you and the ways He’ll capture your heart are better than anything you could imagine or plan yourself. No Ivy League education or national championship performance will ever come anywhere even close.

Sending lots of love from Cambodia!


This letter is part of a series. If you want to add your voice to the collaboration, email me at mariangreen5 (at) gmail (dot) com. Today’s letter comes from a young woman, Alida, who is serving God overseas in Cambodia. Read of her passion for God, adventure, photography, and social justices here. And enjoy her wisdom which pierces my heart. This letter could have started with “Dear Marian”. Did I mentioned she hails Canadian? This is really the reason my family adores her. Photos are hers, too. 


7 thoughts on “Letters To My Younger Self – “Taming Ambition”

  1. “Dive into his dreams for you…God is the only ambition worth chasing…”
    What encouragement this was to me

    And I sure needed the reminder “…beauty of the season you’re in right now”

    Thank you!

  2. Sidenote – the “sending lots of love from Cambodia” was actually for you guys, but I like how it fits in here. Just as long as you know that some of that love from Cambodia was targeted at you! 🙂

    1. You make me smile! I knew it was…but I wasn’t sure how to end your letter in your voice…thus the sign off! I love that you noticed. 🙂

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