Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Note to Self::Time Travel Version

Tony Myles asked an interesting question a couple of weeks ago:

imagine that you could send a note via time travel to yourself five years ago. If there was enough space to write five short sentences, what would it say?
One commenter had some good practical advice to his past self: "invest in Google." :) Reading through all the comments struck me as a kind of poetry. Five (or less) simple lines--vague and fascinating glimpses into others' lives. What would yours say? What would mine say? What wisdom would I love to impart to my college-sophomore self?

I've been pondering it for the last several days, and I think my answer is: I wouldn't.

Five years ago I was on-again, off-again in love with Steve (completely unbeknownst to him). Would I tell myself "be patient, he'll come around" or something to that effect? Certainly I begged God more than once to tell me--so that I could either "get over him and move on" or "relax in knowing it would happen eventually" (yeah right). But if I had known we would eventually be together, I am certain I would have screwed it up somehow, taking matters into my own hands in a Sarah-esque kind of way. Plus, as much as those months and years before Steve came around, and those early months when we first started dating, were awkward and confusing and scary (did I mention awkward?), they were wonderfully so. I wouldn't trade the exciting journey-into-the-unknown with Steve for anything. So no, I don't think I'd tell myself anything along those lines.

Then I thought, maybe I'd give myself a five-year head start on this cross centered life journey--direct myself to read a certain book or article that has helped me so much this last year, or listen to a sermon series, or tell myself to "run to the cross." But you know what? I think Tony is spot-on when he muses, "What's interesting is whether or not we would understand our notes to ourselves five years ago in the context of experience we write from today."

God knew exactly what experiences I needed to go through, both wonderful and painful, and in which order, for me to learn what He's teaching me now. I can look back and see how He has orchestrated these lessons so beautifully--how He has arranged events and relationships and resources in the ways He knew would best drive His truth deep into my heart. And so the growth He has produced in me in the last five years could not have been jump-started. I wouldn't have been able to learn these lessons in 2001 because He hadn't perfectly prepared me for them at that point.

In the end, all this pondering leads me to praise God for His sovereignty and His infinite wisdom. It leads me, strangely enough, to thank Him for not revealing the future to me. And it prompts me to trust Him to direct my growth for the next five years (and beyond) because I can see how perfectly He has done so over the last five.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Great post. =) Just how I feel. Thanks!

cousin Sarah Ü

kristenlea47 said...

If I could have told myself something around 5 years ago it probably would have been something like this:
Enjoy college and the people you are with while it lasts.
P.S. Your boyfriend is gay. Move on.