for a friend

These thoughts are for a dear friend in a time of searching.

I have spent a great deal of my short life looking ahead, making plans based on where I’ve been in the past. It’s natural and human to make plans. We gather evidence from our history, our experiences, the consequences of our decisions, and we make plans based on a few assumptions. The first is that we won’t repeat our mistakes. (Ha.) Second, that our plans are good and will be better than our past. (How many times have we repeated this process?) Third, that everything will go as we plan. (Does it ever?) And then, God laughs. Or maybe, He weeps. Either way, I’m convinced He sees the trajectory we lay out for our lives, and aches for us to see just a glimpse of the infinite abundance He has stored up for us.

The problem with making plans for the future based on the past, even if the plans are to improve upon the past, is that we’re missing out on our lives. The past already happened. It’s not real anymore. It’s done. We hang onto it like it defines us, but it doesn’t- unless we let it. Living in what we did or who we were or what that person did to us or how we felt at that point is a great way to never grow up. I am not the sum total of my past. Neither are you. The decisions you have made and the costumes you have worn are not YOU. You did those things and you said those things, but they are not your identity. If you need to make amends, make amends. Tie up your loose ends, and then let them go.

Neither, then, are you the future version of yourself that you have imagined. That’s not you, either. We plan for the future, as if we have any control over it, and then we live in those daydreams as our actual life literally passes us by. I’ve done it. I know how it goes. There is a void in my life. I am unhappy. I need to be somewhere else so that I can be someone else. Once I get there, I will be able to be who I really am. Here’s the problem with this line of thinking: First of all, it sucks. Second of all, if you cannot be who you are where you are, then moving your body to another place will never change that. Your void will follow you. Emptiness transcends geography, dear friend. If you are empty where you are, you will be empty no matter where you are. I wish there was a prettier way to wrap it up, but that’s the truth that I have experienced myself and seen played out over and over again for others. You cannot escape the void in your life by moving your life, because you take it with you wherever you go. You may be able to cover it up with the thrill of a new place, new stuff, new life. But, with time, the new will become old again and the void will be there waiting. Unless you can find a way to fill it NOW.

NOW is the big secret. Right now. Can you taste it? It’s the only thing in the world we really have. Ghandi said this:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

What do you choose to believe NOW? Start there. If you want to have a life of love, gratitude, kindness, abundance, and peace then you must believe that those things are available to you NOW. Choose to think about those things. Philippians 4:8 says this:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Think about the peace, talk about peace, do peace often, and you will have peace. Do that with love, gratitude, generosity, kindness and every good thing and you will see these them manifested in your life. But you must start NOW. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says:

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!”

Perfect conditions don’t exist. The only way to be the person you want to be, to fill the void in your life, is to be that person now. As someone who loves and trusts Jesus, I suggest you talk to Him about this. He and I have had many conversations over the past few weeks about this stuff, and He can give you answers in exactly the way you need to hear them. It’s okay if you haven’t talked in a while. He doesn’t hold grudges, and His door is always open. He’ll be glad to hear from you.

Although I do strongly recommend Jesus, I’m also just a phone call away and happy to listen.

Grace and Peace and Namaste

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