On Easter, I tried to give flesh to the idea of what it means to live in light of the Resurrection, aka Hope (listen here). The resurrection of Jesus wasn’t just some isolated divine magic trick. It was the first taste, first scent of what God has been promising us all along: the redemption of us all. One day, God will heal our wounds, erase our sins, reconcile our relationships, and reward us for our faithfulness. One day God will renew all of creation, and bring about a new creation ruled by worship, love, justice, and peace. One day we will all be resurrected.
But what about now?
I’ve been coming across a spate of “Dear Me” letters. Older, wiser people who write to their 16- or 25-year old selves. These letters are moving because only someone who knows you so intimately could write with such a compelling combination of deep love and incisive kick-in-the-ass. So it occurred to me, living in light of the resurrection is not only about living with the living Jesus “in my heart”, but also about living in light of the resurrection to come. So what if I fast-forwarded to beyond my 60s and 80s–but into my true glory years, in the resurrection? So here’s what I wrote:
Dear 35 year old Me,
I’m writing from the future. And I’m just dying to give you some advice. Just kidding, I’m alive again.
First, you’ve still got a lot more failure ahead of you. But God still loves you. And God will still raise you from the dead.
Second, it’s ok to relax to Netflix, but don’t waste your life on it. Learn how to enjoy life, not just to veg out. It’s good practice for eternity.
Third, it’s ok that loving people is hard. It’s worth it. And it’s not like you’re that easy to love either.
Fourth, tell more people about Jesus.
Fifth, don’t worry about changing the world. Just raise good kids. Make disciples. And love the poor in your neighborhood really well.
Granted, a “Dear Me” letter has its flaws. Is it based on what Scripture tells us about eternity, or just my own fantasies? It’s still kinda self-absorbed (“Dear ME”). And honestly, do I really know what I’d actually say to myself?
But it’s been a helpful start for me. Because so much of what bogs me down is getting consumed in my present circumstances. So much of what makes me despair is fixating on merely what I am able or unable to do about my life or my world. Zooming out, WAY out, has turned out to be a much more helpful way of living in the present. What has helped you?