I read a post from another blogger, Lea’s Spiritual Journey, titled “An Open Letter to God”. It provoked this thought which is also a popular song title of a newer Christian song. I’m surprising myself that I may be so open about my earlier years, but here we go.
Dear Younger Me,
Look how far God has brought you! You were the insecure little boy who dramatized most everything and took so much too personally. When you could have enjoyed being a child, you were too busy trying to be an adult.
Because of your feelings of inadequacy, you tried to find an identity not in who you are but in what you did. The result was that you buried yourself in music. You excelled in it and developed your identity as the musician, and you surpassed what you expected. Then God called you into ministry.
Because you were still so insecure, you developed your identity as the minister. You watched 7th Heaven and wanted to be the next Eric Camden (note to reader: this was from a tv show that started in the 1990s in case you are unfamiliar). You wanted to be the one who saved the day. You wanted to build a résumé that would be rather impressive and have people sit in awe of your ability to preach and solve people’s problems. You accomplished some of that, but at what expense?
So much of your life was spent trying to make an identity that you didn’t realize you already had one. No divorce, number of children, amount in your checking account can take that away from you.
When everything in your life shifted, you learned that your true identity is a child of God Who is washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. You are forgiven, redeemed, justified, sanctified, and all those who big Bible words. You don’t need a big congregation, a big salary, or great earthly possessions to give you that identity. And NO ONE can take that away from you!
Live the rest of your life on the basis of your true identity. Enjoy the journey! Laugh a lot! Talk to God yet listen more than you talk to Him! Love people where they are! And remember the words that have inspired you for quite some time: “Great it is to dream the dream as you stand in youth by the starry stream. But a greater thing is to fight life through and say in the end, ‘The dream is true'”.
Matthew D. Winters, March 26, 2018 (age 37)
11 thoughts on “Dear Younger Me”
Wow Pastor Matt, thank you for sharing yourself:)
I pray God uses that lesson in the lives of many others.
I love this. Great perspective! 🙂
Love it Matt.
Whether the gardener or the physician, matters not to God. For he smiles on each equally who offers up his work for the glory of God.
Your words so closely reflect my experience as a young pastor. When opposition and the church grew and I discovered the unfaithfulness of my wife, I crumbled because my identity was wrapped up in being a pastor. I never made a comeback as a pastor, but the Lord has brought all my awful experiences together in my writing. I am an author today because of the terrible times the Lord brought me through and I thank Him for everything that happened and for His miraculous healing. Jesus is loving and king beyond what I can imagine.
I’m grateful God does not put us on a shelf because of circumstances beyond our control. Keep writing! God uses it more than you realize.
“You were the insecure little boy who dramatized most everything and took so much too personally. When you could have enjoyed being a child, you were too busy trying to be an adult.
Because of your feelings of inadequacy, you tried to find an identity not in who you are but in what you did. ”
This sounds so much like my 7 year old!
Many of us struggle even at such a young age.