Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galations 6:7-8
"What a man reaps, so shall he sow."
The truth is that how we handle our “todays” is a great indicator of what we will face in our “tomorrows.
Cole’s assignment was to complete a mini essay on what kind of changes he wanted to see in his community and how he could personally contribute to these changes. The concepts he chose were lofty and this made the writing assignment even more difficult and lengthy than it had to be. As 3 o’clock rolled around, I could see his little heart becoming troubled and his eyes beginning to fill with tears. He still had significant work to do to finish. When I saw how upset he was becoming, I presented him with the option of stopping and picking it up the following day. “I know I told you to finish today but it’s getting late and you seem too upset to think clearly.” I told him.
Cole responded by saying, “No, Mom, I don’t want to quit - If I give up now, my future self will hate me!”
WOW! His words affected me profoundly. How clever! How wise!
Not many days later, while the kids were eating breakfast I told them that I wanted their help today because we had guests arriving. I told each child they’d need to clean their rooms and tidy the basement together after school and before doing anything fun.
Cole immediately responds with, “I so love my past self!”
“What?” I asked.
“I already completely cleaned my room yesterday and Maya and I kept the basement pretty clean this week. I am so happy. Yep, I love my past self!”
That night, while lying in bed I kept thinking how so many of my life’s difficulties had to do with bad choices my past self made. No one else but ME in the past – my past self!
There was perhaps no teaching I would want my children to understand more than the teaching my son was teaching me: Consequences of self-choices – how our pasts affects our futures.
Several days past and my mother, that's “Nanna” to the kids, came to visit for tea. The kids and I tried to get her to stay longer than she wanted to and we put a bit of a guilt trip on her. She said, “I really must get home because I have been procrastinating terribly in cleaning my house and well, I am overwhelmed and if I don’t do it now….I mean, I really want to stay but I can’t…I can but, I shouldn’t….”
And as she was standing at the door trying to get us to understand why she just couldn’t stay and visit, Cole interrupted with, “Nanna, we understand, You’ve got your future self breathing down your neck!”
Seriously? He’s a funny dude! Nanna loved it. And off she went so she too would not dislike her past self tomorrow.
Several months ago Cole asked me if I thought he would grow up to be a foolish teenager and deny the ways of the Lord like so many other teenagers do.
I told him that I certainly didn’t know but I hoped he wouldn’t. "I suppose even thinking such thoughts is a good sign that you might choose to be a little wiser than most," I told him.
Because of all these talks about future self and past self, I decided to search “future-self” on the internet. I was just loving the spiritual and practical life implications of really thinking about these concepts and I wanted to read more.
I found a website called future-me and it is a place where you can write a letter to yourself to be sent to your email on whatever date you choose in the future. I asked Cole if he wanted to do it. He said, “I would love to! It seems the closest thing we can get to time travel, don’t you think Mom!?, he asked.
He dictated and I wrote a letter to his future-self to arrive when he is 16 years old. A letter that I wish I had received when I was 16 – or 26 – or 36 for that matter. It was incredible! He reminded himself to spend time with his grandparents. He said that if any of them had died by then that his future self should make sure he takes time to comfort mom and dad over losing a parent. He told himself to try and date girls committed to God so he can spare himself from future pain. He said that he chose to write to himself when he would be 16 years old because to his present self this seems to be one of the most vulnerable ages to spiritual attacks which try to make people choose ungodly ways. He encouraged himself to remember that young kids are looking up to him and to still be a good example and kind to his little sisters. He told himself to be a good student but not to stress about school because stress is bad for his health. He told himself to remain in Danville unless God calls him elsewhere. And that he hopes he still wants to see exotic animals in Africa or Australia one day and that if he hadn't yet he should think about traveling. He told his future self not to worry about money because his present (past) self has already started saving. He reminded himself through his letter to his future-self not to walk away from the Lord and to continue believing in God's goodness. WOW!
There were a number of other things, but I will leave that to Cole’s future self to read 6 years from now.
I have been taught so much by my son in this season. Help me Lord to wait when you tell me to wait and to do when you tell me to do. Help me to be diligent in the small things….I too want to appreciate my past self one day so that my future self can bring me less pain and you all the more glory!
Cole, if you ever read my blog in the future know that you and your sisters have been perhaps God's greatest teachers in my life!