A Letter From My Future Self

Dear Me,

Your life is NOW.

I know you try to be in it, to stay present, to be here as it is happening.

But I admonish you to try even harder. Not with sheer willpower, but with surrender.

Surrender as hard as you can. Surrender to life as it is. And trust. Trust in the good despite your experience.

As Jordan Peterson says,

Resentment and simmering anger, no matter how justified, are rough tools. You may use them to build a future but they will carve out an ugly hut for you to lie down in.

You, my dear, will not build that ugly hut. Instead, you drop your rough tools, open your chest and shoulders, throw your arms back. Lift your chin and declare yourself alive, hopeful, and the kind of person who lives in joy.

How? All I can tell you is that you get there. Here. And it’s worth it.       silhouette of a woman with lifted chin, arms and chest wide, head thrown back: a letter from my future self

Believe,

Me

 

34 thoughts on “A Letter From My Future Self”

  1. Surrender to who or what? Believe in what? Live in who’s joy? “ Declare yourself alive“??? What happened to God?

    Reply
    • Yes, good questions.

      As I have attempted with the art of songwriting, I sometimes leave the “answers” up to the interpretation of the listener/reader.

      You may also note that the subject of this “letter” lends itself to a lack of detail.

      I have been the kind of Christian that demands concrete answers and solid declarations of truth from artists. I understand the impulse.

      But, Biblical theological principles don’t always speak to my present experience (I am assuming those were the details you found missing).
      Acute suffering has a way of scrambling the brain patterns that used to make sense of the world.

      All to say, your questions here are the questions I am asking myself.
      Thanks for reading and commenting ( :

      Reply
      • Biblical principles DON’T always answer our questions. Sometimes that’s because religious people have boxed them up for us as if a relationship with the living God can be packaged into a list of handy responses.
        Our reliance is on God, our surrender is to Him–not to anything or anyone else. That’s where the freedom is.
        C.S. Lewis’s response to his disappointments because if his expectations of God (A Grief Observed) were similar to Job’s. When we go through our biggest trials, that is when our trust in God is tested. Is He still good? Can He be trusted? Those are questions we have to know. People all over the world are suffering every day, but it’s when it hits home that we have to decide if we really believe and trust in God or not.

        Reply
  2. Good stuff Christine. I find it a struggle as I get older. I want to spend each day with children and grandchildren but work and just living get in the way. Surrender has always been difficult with my controlling personality but it has become easier as the years go by. I appreciate you and your music! God bless!

    Reply
    • I relate to “controlling” personality. I want to have more control over my life than is possible. Admitting that the answers and the certainties feel up for grabs lately is a scary place to traverse. Thanks for the blessing.

      Reply
  3. I have wondered this also when reading your posts Christine.
    I heard your interview on the Pivot. You didn’t speak of Jesus Christ’s place in your life as I had expected. Instead I quote “I decided since God didn’t fulfill His side of my expectations, I’m going to look outside the evangelical narrative at other wisdom stories and traditions, and what does Buddhism have to say.” You have also quoted Richard Rohr who is a progressive christian. Where do you actually stand Christine? Have you deconstructed your faith? No matter where you are I love you sister but I can no longer take what you find as truth if it isn’t coming from Gods truth found in scripture.

    Reply
    • Lynn, when my granddaughter’s and daughter’s pain were at one of their worst stages, I told a friend, “I’m mad at God.” She said, “Oh no, don’t be mad at God.” And I said, “Why not? He can handle the truth and He knows I’m mad anyway!”

      So I stand where so many have stood when overwhelmed by the inaction of God. It’s nothing new and not meant to weaken others’ faith. God’s not going anywhere. My false expectations and wrong interpretations are worth the exploration. And I thank you for weighing in ( :

      Reply
      • I struggle with this too Chris, as you know. I call it being “underwhelmed” by God. Being disappointed and saddened and, yes, angered by the fact that the creator of EVERYTHING couldn’t come up with a better plan than this. One that didn’t require pain, suffering, and such distance between us and Him on this earth. As you said, He already knows I feel this way so the best thing to do is admit it to Him and myself. My challenge is, in my equivalent search for “other wisdom stores and traditions”, what crosses the line and becomes a replacement for Him? Everything has the potential to – hobbies, material things, politics, etc. But for me, I have to believe that the Bible remains true as the inerrant word of God. In the midst of the struggles in this life I don’t even consider my questions, fears, doubts, anger, or even being underwhelmed by God as me having a “crisis of faith”. Everything is just as true as it’s ever been. It’s me who’s changing as I get older and collect experiences. When He is not enough, I can accept the fact that it’s due to my lack of surrender (maybe?) and that it is serving His purpose in me that I cannot fully grasp today. I know and believe that “Jesus is enough” regarding salvation and in light of eternity. But practically, what do I do with the gap that leaves me searching for more today? I love you sister ❤️.

        Reply
        • David, I appreciate your honesty. Indeed, “Everything is just as true as it’s ever been.” Our thoughts and feelings and experiences are nothing new but new to us. Thanks for adding your voice, my dear brother.

          Reply
  4. Dear Christine;
    I’ve always enjoyed the thoughtful and intelligent lyrics of your songs. As I’ve grown older and just being transparent, I do need the solidness of the Rock of the Lord to surrender to, to believe in and to be joyful on.
    Growth has brought pain and I’m sure you’re familiar with it too. I’ve recognized clearly that Christ’s foundation has given me the strength to overcome storms. I’m in the middle of some too but holding on.
    Continue to be light for many as you’ve always been. 😊

    Blessings always.

    Reply
    • Nelson, yes, the growing older has shifted and sifted my perspective in many ways. The Rock and the foundation of Christ are solid principles upon which I have built my life. May that storm of yours subside soon!

      Reply
  5. Christine, thank you for your vulnerability in being willing to publicly ask & address raw, emotional questions regarding the suffering that finds us all in this broken world! Not unlike the laments in the Psalms, you are creating a safe place for believers to hear, and maybe even voice questions often not permitted elsewhere.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for your letter. I have been suffering for a while with so many things. The 2 at the for front are my husband still healing from a Traumatic Brain Injury in February and my realization that I am bisexual (which came to a head about a year ago). Although I can’t go into detail I continue on with the struggles. Trying every day to bring it to God. Your music and blog are a few things that are helping in the battle. Thank you for sharing some of your life. God bless,

    Kris Ehrmantraut

    Reply
    • Kristina, we wouldn’t choose our struggles yet they are ours. Thanks for your honesty. May you find the healing and relief–or at least the help to live within the turmoil. So glad our music and my words are helpful to you ( :

      Reply
  7. Hi Christine, thank you for sharing your heart. I have been pondering the words of an old Twila Paris song recently. It is titled “Do I Trust You?” and talks about the questions of life that seemingly have no answer. The song concludes, “I will trust You, Lord, when I don’t know why / I will trust You, Lord, ’till the day I die / I will trust You, Lord, when I’m blind with pain / You were God before and You’ll never change / I will trust You, I will trust You, I will trust You, Lord.” There are times we will never understand the “what” that is happening and can only hold onto the “who” whose plan continues to unfold in directions we can’t anticipate, even when we are “blind with pain.” I continue to pray for you and Carina and Callaway every time I remember. I will say that there is great beauty in some of Carina’s posts, even in the midst of her great pain for her daughter. God bless -Nigel

    Reply
  8. I consider myself an analytical person who likes data, facts, knowledge and of course, wisdom. This is burdensome. I suppose it’s really all about making yourself comfortable with the unknown and resting in the faith like a hammock on a warm spring day.

    Reply
      • Christine,
        Thanks for your reply! I have a question that I’ve wondered about for years: Was “Dear Marianne” a real person in your life? I can imagine sitting in a coffee shop and having this conversation with someone.

        Reply
  9. Thank you Christine for the reminder to enjoy the present! I wish I had done that more when my kids were younger 🙂

    Reply
  10. Oh…and I forgot to add that your comments remind me of your song “Summer”. The lyrics are soooo beautifully written. Reminded me to enjoy my children when they wanted to play…to not worry about little things. 🙂

    We had sandwiches and apple juice
    On that sweet afternoon in the summer
    And you only wanted me to play
    You had no time to waste in the summer

    Reply
    • Jemie, yes, indeed I wrote those words to remind myself to stay present with my kids as they were growing. It was difficult for me to play when there was so much work to be done. It went by so fast!

      Reply

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