It’s been just a little over ten years since I graduated. I was listening to some music I listened to in high school while working out and I begin to think back on that time in my life. On March 23, 2014 I will be 10 years sober. That’s huge! God gets all the glory! But I begin to think of things that I wish someone would’ve told me back to wake me up and get my attention, so this is a letter to myself, ten years ago.
I know you think you’re at the top of the world in high school; in many ways you are. You’re reputation is stellar, you’re never alone, you’re always at the best parties…life seems great! “These are the best days of your life!” Seems so true, nothing to hold you down, no one to stop you from doing what you want, and seemingly endless possibilities lie just ahead.
Let me cut through the garbage here. Let’s get real, OK?
All the drugs, the pills, the pot, the drinks…it seems fun. It’s all you’ve known. But it will turn into a nightmare.
You won’t be able to go a day without any of it. You’ve smoked yourself into a place where you will do just about anything; and I know it’s all a sham. You do it to hide the hurt. You do it so you won’t have to feel the deep loneliness that creeps in at night. The shots chased by pills followed by the bong is all your way of crying for someone to notice you, to love you, to care about you.
You have no idea that just three months after graduation you won’t be going off to college. Your plans are going to crash and burn. You’re going to become an island. You’re going to descend into a darkness that in all of your hippie angst and philosophical malarkey, you could never imagine. You are about to throw yourself into Hell-on-Earth…and you have no idea.
Your drug use will careen out of control, you paychecks will be gone to your dealers before you can blink…you’re going to smoke, drink, trip, and cry yourself to sleep every single night as it gets worse.
You wouldn’t think it now being on top of the world and all,but you’re about to enter a place where all the drugs and alcohol in the world cannot numb the pain; in fact…they make it so much worse. What you view as a “friend” now will be a cruel slave master to you. Your emotions and mind, even your health are going to be poured out and obliterated in this bleak despair. You’re going to meet face-to-face with yourself…and you’re going to hate what you see.
I know it seems impossible now, but just five months after you graduate you will beg every god you can name…to end your life. You will seek death. Your atheism coupled with your “newly found” philosophical pretense will fail you. You will get to a point that you will try anything. You will cry out to anyone who will listen…and you will curse them all when it continues to crumble. You will try any pill, any remedy, any thing to help you cope. But it won’t help you.
You will begin to think of how to quickly and easily take your life. See, on that very night you cry for death; when you run through the pantheon of Greek, Norse, Babylonian, and Hindi gods and goddesses…none will hear you.
As you read this, you’re probably terrified or obstinate…but more likely somewhere in the middle. I want to tell you more than anything that none of those “gods” will hear you, but God will hear you. Jesus will hear you. The Holy Spirit will move in your mind…and you will come face-to-face with the God of the Universe. He has a plan for you. A BIG plan. He’s going to come to you in ways you wouldn’t believe, through people you can’t even fathom, and it will culminate to the realization that everything I’ve written you is true.
You’re going to be a preacher. Laugh. In fact, I know you will. But you’re going to see how true this is. That all the times you mocked, scored, cursed, and hated Jesus…He was going to come running to save you when you were about to die. He’s going to show you just how real and true and awesome He is. And you know the craziest part?
Its that He loves you. Not just in some cheesy “Ray Stevens in your Grandpa’s Car” kind of love you where “everyone is beautiful in their own way” but that He truly adores you. That He created you for a task. That He isn’t willing to sit back and watch you destroy yourself. No! He’s going to step in and make such a radical change that even ten years from now the people you know will have a hard time believing.
He’s going to love you for you, just as you are. Why? Because He made you. He created you. He hand-crafted you. He will know who you really are – all the wretchedness and evil, the sadness and the darkness…and He’s going to accept you, heal you, take care of you, and quite literally save you. He will pursue you in the days and months ahead. He will show you an incredible, unconditional love that you will never be able to duplicate.
Speaking of that….you think you know love. You dote after a seemingly endless stream of girls you think are “The One” and you try and try to make relationships work…to fall in love…and you think you’re there. Truth is, those girls are just leading you on. They like you, sure…but they don’t feel the way you do. If you’re really honest, you’re so lonely that it keeps you awake at night. You’re so lonely that it hurts. You just want someone to love you and accept you.
What you don’t know is that you’re going to meet an incredible woman in college. She’s going to blow your mind; steal every breath, take all your affections, and make your heart palpitate just from holding hands. She’s going to be the most beautiful, intelligent, kind, and caring, amazing and wonderful woman. She’s going to be your best friend. She’s going to love everything about you. She’s going to be your wife. You’re going to have a daughter who is nothing short of miraculous. She’s going to be beautiful.
I know this is a lot to take in, but I wish someone would’ve given me a heads up long ago. So walk through this. You’re not alone. You’re never going to be alone. You’re being guarded and prepared by the King of kings and the Lord of lords for a task that only He can do, but He will use you.
You will help others see that darkness doesn’t have to be permanent…that life isn’t meaningless…that love isn’t fleeting…but that Truth and Grace are found at the foot of a cross two-thousand years ago…even more so in an empty grave on a Sunday morning…and He did it to set you free. He did it for everyone…and it’s going to be your job to tell them that. I know it sounds scandalous – believe me, it’s nothing short of that…but you will struggle and you will succeed not by your own ability, not by your own personality, not by your common sense…but because God will reign in your heart.
Your life will mean so much some day, and you’ll look back on this day and see just how far gone you were, but more importantly just how Great God is for He is able to hold you, keep you from falling, and save you from yourself. Go. Follow Him. Listen to Him. You’ll never forget or regret it.
Your Future Self