As time goes by, we all have a missing person in our past, reminding us who we’ve been, who we dreamed of becoming, and where we’re going. Time has a funny way of reminding us that our lives have resulted from the missing person we once were. This is my letter to myself, remembering the missing person and looking towards the person I long to become. I hope some of this will resonate with you and maybe encourage you to write a similar letter, yourself.
Dear past self,
I often look back on the past 32 years with fond memories, regrets, and echoes of dreams that have died in the lapse of time. You have become a mysterious phantom, one that I often remove from my everyday life, but one that has created me into the person I am today.
When you were very young, I remember you were free of the cares of the world, dreaming of being a three-sport professional athlete, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and the future husband of Sandra Bullock. You believed you could do anything; in fact, you were convinced that you would change the world. It was simple: you were invincible.
You were a very complex teenager, becoming more heavy-hearted about the matters of faith, increasingly insecure about being accepted, and consumed with anxiety about something, anything. And yet, you were curious, passionate about spirituality, and desperate to know God…You were such an interesting, yet conflicted teenager…I feel that we have grown worlds apart, but I do have fond memories of those days.
In college, you confounded me. Obsessive fears about faith, dreams, and girls were constantly running through my mind. Meetings with professors discussing your doubts, late night talks about your latest crush, and despair that your life would be meaningless were a typical them. And yet, you remained passionate to know God, sincere in your friendship, and a constant dreamer…Once again, you were such a conflicted young adult…
After school, you became someone I really don’t miss. Sure, there are great memories of those years, but those years were primarily filled with loneliness, anxiety, depression, fear, and confusion. Your first job sent you into isolation, resulting in tears of brokenness on a constant basis. The difficulties on your travels became even more consuming; you were alone in the darkness of life’s fragility.
You had a dream to be a light in the dark city of Los Angeles, driven by a heart that was on fire. Childlike wonder returned to your heart, but that would soon fade as the constant battle with financial pressures, rejection, anxiety, depression, and new relationships derailed your heart’s original mission. Good memories still remain, but I’m not sad to let you go…The more I think of you, the more I wonder if you were but a dream…
It was when you moved home that you were faced with tough decisions: who would you become, was there hope for healing, and would you ever get another opportunity to pursue your dreams? Once again, I don’t really miss this you, either…The memories do have some moments of joy, but your battle in your mind was excrutiating…Thankfully, God brought good friends who spoke life, accepted you in your brokenness, and loved you with the grace of the Father.
Then she arrived in your journey, completely changing who you would become. She bought a chai latte from you at Starbucks and you were in love…You dated and a year later were married…Such grace that God would bring such a lovely girl into your broken, jacked-up life.
And yet, the past few years have presented many challenges to you, from working in a depressing cubicle for 2 years to returning to acting…Then failing again. Since then, you have left and I have remained, the product of your journey thus far.
Now, I am not the same person I once was. There are both positive and negative aspects of my current framework, leading me to grow and evolve beyond today.
I wish my heart for God was stronger than it is…Sometimes it is…Sometimes it isn’t. I wish that I would care more about sharing the hope of Jesus than I am about comfort…But I’m a constant contradiction.
Investing in others through encouraging, investing, and loving is much more important to me than it’s ever been, which has been a wonderful experience. It’s amazing how encouraging others encourages your own spirit in return…
I’m more content in the place God has placed me than I’ve ever been. I’m not as desperate to become famous, powerful, or awesome. I simply am enjoying the journey, for the most part. It’s quite nice.
I’m experiencing gradual healing in my depression and anxiety, thanks to years of counseling and medicine. I’m not ashamed to discuss this part of my life because it is part of my story. In fact, I take pride in what God is doing through me in my weakness, so I guess I talk about it more now than ever.
I don’t miss the person I once was, because the future is much more interesting than the past. I’m still on a journey of healing, growing, evolving, and maturing that will continue until the day I die and I’m extremely content on this incredible adventure with my Daddy.
Who have you been? Who are you now? Who do you long to be?
We all have a missing person that we have left behind, but we are invited to create the person we will become. We create the future through our choices.
What will you choose to do with your life?