I was invited recently to write a letter to myself. From a self much older (and hopefully wiser) self, who has lived out the story I want to live, who wants to invite the me of today to learn the lessons he learned, to be fully prepared for the life he has.
The challenge is to look forward. To think about our own stories. To think about what life itself means. To confront the truth of who we are, what story we are currently telling, and the urgency of our need to stop procrastinating & live the story we were born to.
Undergoing this process has brought lots of things in my life to focus. Who I am called to be. The story I want to tell.
It’s helped me gain a more realistic perspective on life, and inspired me to take action to get my story going.And later I’m going to invite you to take up this challenge too.
So here’s my own ‘letter from an older self’:
Dear 37 year old James,
I won’t ask how you are. I am you, remember. I know how you are. I remember reading this letter myself.
I remember the hopelessness you felt on the train that day.
Trust me James, you have a long journey ahead of you. Yes. Really.
You see, the weird thing about writing this is now I know what is to come, and to save you the worry and stress I could just tell you and save you the anxiety.
But I’m not. I am going to let you get the full benefit of your journey.
I can tell you you have made a difference in the world. Lots of people have benefitted from your writing, your speaking, your example. You will not be forgotten like you keep thinking you will be. And God does truly love you. I get it now. I see why He didn’t tell us before what was going to happen. And not for bad reasons either. Lots of things you never predicted or could foresee are actually good.
And yes, good things can, will and do happen to you. Better than anything you have dreamed or planned.
You did meet someone wonderful and build a life with them. But to say who, how you met, when you met and whether you had kids or not would be spoiling it. Just trust me, when you find her you will know for sure it was worth the wait, and you will be glad God kept you single all those years. Trust me on this.
You are going to write lots of books, blog posts, articles and you are going to change lives in ways you have no idea about. You are going to discover new skills you never realised you had, and have experiences beyond anything you imagine.
Oh, and one more thing. Trust God. Honestly, trust Him. He is on your side. He is not against you.
One day all those hurts and frustrations will make sense. You will consider them a blessing, not a curse. (go on, tweet that).
Trust Despite The Suffering
You will suffer again. Not because of who you are or anything you have done or not done – just because you are human, a broken person living in a broken world.
But trust God. He will be with you always. He will not let go of you, and will always be there. These things were not caused by Him and He does not relish or enjoy them. They hurt Him as much as you.
Trust Him. And trust me, your future self. I know how difficult it seems, but He can be trusted.
Keep going. Never give up. Trust God. Believe in yourself. You are more loved, valuable, capable & significant than you know.
Believe me, I know. Remember, I was you once. And now with the years passed, I can see it all with clear eyes.
Write. Pursue relationships. Work hard in all areas of life (You can lose that weight, manage money well & deal with your insecurities & fears, trust me). Relax. Don’t panic. Have no fear.
God is always with you. You are never alone. You don’t need to shout to be heard.
I know this sounds easy in theory, (and don’t think I’ve forgotten the cynicism you read that with). But trust me.
Trust yourself, if you trust no one else.
I’ll see you in about 40 years. Let me know then what you think.
James Prescott (aged 75).
I hope this letter & the message behind it have both challenged & inspired you. Today, I want to invite you to take up this challenge yourself.
Sit and write a letter from the person you want to be, thinking about all the things you want to accomplish, challenging you to consider what story you really want to tell.
If you’re a blogger, if you like, publish it on your blog as I did. Publishing it will challenge you to be truly vulnerable and honest, and gain accountability. When you publish it, post the link in the comments below & I’ll put all the links in this post.
Taking up this challenge made a huge difference to me. I’m sure it can really bless you too.
Question For Reflection:
What story do you want to tell with your life & what are you doing about it?
Let me know in the comments below!
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