October 7, 2013

What I Would Say To Me: A Letter to Myself Five Years Ago

The following is a guest post by Kari Patterson at Sacred Mundane. All I have to add to this post is yes, yes, yes and Amen!

To the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet.

I wish I hadn't been so soul-hungry. Wish I hadn't scarfed down bitterness as if it were a treat.

Emerging from low places is a vulnerable place to be. I wish I could go back and say a few things to myself. Usually, I don't spend much time looking back. What's in the rearview mirror is only critically important if I'm going backwards. But a glance over the shoulder here and there is helpful, to reflect. What would I say to myself? Just this:

"You are not poor."

I would look me in the 28-year-old tired eyes, touch the round pregnant belly, kiss the 20-month-old temperamental toddler, smile at the toys strewn all over the house, and say:

I know you feel lost and lonely. It's been 4 years since that ministry-job feel apart and you've been sitting in the midst of broken dreams, waiting, wondering what went wrong. Where you went wrong. You've been living with your parents, swallowed up, looking for your identity, wondering where you went. You've tossed a baby into the mix and now another. You haven't had an income for some time now and you feel like a charity case and everywhere you look everyone seems to have it figured out.
So this new job Jeff just go, it feels like your salvation...

But it's not. Yes, it's a gift. Yes, it's God's path. Yes, it will be a blessing in so many ways. But beware because your soul is so hungry right now, you might just scarf down bitter stuff and think it's really sweet.

You are not poor.

You, daughter of the King, are relationally rich.

So you don't have to scrape and beg for friendship. You don't have to hang your worth on a woman, or women, wishing for their love and approval.

You don't have to desperately hope your children will behave. Sometimes they will. Sometimes they won't. Forget all the watching eyes, the infinite parenting opinions and the dogmatic directives. Listen closely the Father's guiding whisper and get down lower, leaning in close enough to look into your child's eyes, taste his breath, know his heart. Enjoy your children, Kari. You will never get these little years again.

You don't have to be at every event. You don't have to wear a Pastor's Wife hat. That hat is death, don't do it! Just be Jeff's wife and revel in his love and adoration and crazy affection. He is nuts about you, girl! Throw yourself at that man. He doesn't need a coach, he needs a wife.

You don't have to follow the American Dream. That house, the one in your head, will be an albatross around your neck. You'll get it, love it, loathe it, leave it. Just FYI: you'd save yourself $50,000 if you ditch the dream-home idea and go straight for the simple lasting beauty of contentment. It's timeless.

You don't have to crumble at every criticism. No one expects you to be perfect, so stop trying. Some of these words are from God. Let those sink in deep. But some of those words are likely spoken from a place of jealousy or fear. Let the Holy Spirit filter everything for you. Do not take upon yourself everyone else's issues.

The truth is, you are not poor. You are so ridiculously rich in Jesus. His approval is unwavering, His love unceasing, His affection unrelenting, His grace never-ending. Don't be fooled into thinking you are hungry, girl. Don't scarf down all that bitterness, desperate for something to fill.

You are full. Rich. Free. You are the daughter of the King. Never forget.

Love,
me

What would you say to yourself five years ago?