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An Open Letter to My Future Self

01/23/2012

A few days ago, I found a letter in the mailbox.  It was addressed to myself… from myself.  It was from my senior year in high school, written as an activity with my high school fellowship as a letter of reminder for thanksgiving and life direction.  I was quite surprised at what I read– how some things in my life now are dramatically different and how some of my desires and thoughts are almost exactly the same.  So, inspired by the “open letters” in the blogosphere nowadays, an open letter to my future self:

Dear Matt,

I’m not quite sure how long into the “future” you’ll read this, but I realize that even in a matter of just a few years a lot will change.  I hope I’m getting you ready for it all.

I have a lot of hopes for you.

I hope some things don’t change at all.  I hope you still can appreciate a good cup of coffee.  I hope you can still enjoy a good hymn.  I hope you are still convinced that you don’t “need” an iPhone.  I hope you still write a lot.  I hope you’re still introspective, but that you’re also still outgoing.  I hope you still don’t take yourself too seriously.  I hope you still don’t have a problem with raising your hands in worship whether publicly or all by yourself.  I still hope you still see worship as a lifestyle.  I hope you still see the importance in moments of worship, though.  I hope you still have good guy friends that can challenge you.  You need them.  I hope you still have a desire to disciple guys as well.  I hope you still read a lot.  I hope most of your convictions about music don’t weaken, but that they develop and grow biblically.  I hope you still have some of the same aspirations and dreams about life and ministry.  I hope you’re even living some of those out when you read this.

Even more, I hope you change and mature a lot from who I am now.  I hope you go on Facebook less.  I hope you stop tweeting nonsense.  I hope you stop taking notes in church for no reason.  I hope you stop thinking it’s cool to stay young and that you spend more time doing things to grow up than you do trying to stay the same age.  I hope you learn more of what discipline is.  I hope you’re more patient.  I hope you see why it’s important to eat better and sleep and how these things that affect your life and ministry.  I hope you trust people more.  Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  I hope you seek counsel more than trusting your own thoughts and conclusions.  I hope you pray more.  I hope you stop loving the world so much.  Your hope is in heaven.  I hope you grow in theology– in your knowledge of the things of God.  I hope you grow in the way you communicate with others.  I hope you grow in humility in light of the cross.  I hope you never think you’ve figured things out.  I hope you think through things in increasingly biblical and deep ways.

That’s not all.  I have more that I hope for you.  Please keep reading, Matt.  These next few things are not as much hopes as they are things I am praying for you about.

I’m sitting here at my desk looking around and I realize that I could either be setting you up for great times of growth and sanctification or complete and utter failure.  It’s telling what I keep within arm’s reach: a cup of coffee, my cell phone, an iPod, a Kindle,  my computer, my Bible, and a few guitars.  I hope all of those things stay within arm’s reach, but that you learn which things to reach for first.  Don’t get me wrong.  I hope you still enjoy reaching for your guitar, sending messages to your family and friends, and reading a lot of interesting articles and blogs.

That Kindle sitting there.  Reach for it with much frequency.  It, in a sense, represents a lot of other similar things in your life: it could be of great help, or it could mislead you in what seems like minor ways.  It holds a lot of wisdom and input from sources you trust a lot.  Most of the things you’ll read on it will be good.  Other things will be mediocre.  I hope that you are able to discern the good from the mediocre, emphasize the right things, and prioritize your life accordingly.  I hope you can effectively use your Kindle and other “Kindles” in your life with discernment.

Your computer.  I’m not too sure if it’ll be the same one by the time you read this, but I guess that’s besides the point.  It also embodies the approach you should have with a lot of other areas in your life.  There are extremely great things you could use it for, terrible and time-wasting things you could use it for, and things in between.  Right now, I use it for such a mix of things.  It’s a lot of fun, most of the time.  But I’m still learning how to use this thing for God’s glory.  I’m learning how to use it with a sense of discipline.  It’s hard.  I hope you learn to use your computer and other “computer”-like things with a sense of discipline.  I’ve been pretty distracted and undisciplined with these types of things up until now, but I will do my best to set you up with a life that pleases God with your use of these things.  I’m learning that these things are tools to be used for God’s glory– don’t forget that.

But I hope that out of everything you keep within arm’s reach, you reach for your Bible first.  You will be much less likely to go wrong if that’s the case.  I think I’m developing that mentality for you right now, but I’m sure I’m not doing a perfect job of that.  So just make sure.  Please.  I’m not one to really advise you on too much (considering our relationship), but that’s one thing I’ll be pretty straight with you about.  Be in the Word and let it pervade the entirety of who you are, what you think, and what you do.  It will help you to love Christ more and hope for heaven more.

I’m trying to help you out as much as I can now.  I’m really trying.  I hope you can say you’re thankful for me.  I guess, ultimately though, there’s not much I can do.  I am praying for you a lot, and I know that God will work in and through you.

See you sometime soon.  Rather, I’ll be you sometime soon.

-Matt

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