Have you ever met your younger self? I’ve had friends who have had dreams of themselves when they were younger or who did EDMR to re-write events from when they were young. But last night, in the Winco parking lot, I was approached by a kid (he’s 21) who I swear was the younger version of me. He was so sincere. He was so brave. And he was trying so hard to please God. But he was afraid he wasn’t good enough, living in fear of taking even one step off course. The assumption was that one misstep would ruin everything. I remember feeling that way. The way he talked about his faith was so deeply personal. He knew and was quoting the Bible. I remember knowing Scripture well. He was kind. But he didn’t feel free. He wasn’t at peace because he was striving so hard to be okay. I want to say that his love for God is totally pure. But how pure can a love be when it’s wrapped up in such a deep desire to please? I think in some ways, love includes pleasing. As a 2 on the Enneagram, it is really fun and life-giving for me to please people I love. If that pleasure is coming as a result of intimate knowledge, it feels good to me to give pleasure in that way. But if pleasing comes from a place of feeling insecure or unsafe or if the desire to please comes from feeling inadequate, I don’t think I could call that pure anymore. And hey, that’s a problem based in bad theology, right, not bad intentions.
In my encounter with this kid, I got to say some stuff to my younger self that I know landed with him. I got to say, you’re already ok. Jesus already died and rose. You don’t need to strive. You’re already good. You please him just because he loves you. Find a way to rest and be at peace rather than resenting your embodied self (like needing to sleep and eat). You don’t have to spiritualize everything. I also deliberately cussed in front of him and that was fun. It’s nice to shake things up when your box is so small. He said some beautiful, insightful things to me as well. He asked if I was a writer. (This kid had some spiritual energy, what he referred to as the Holy Spirit, of course). I said yes. He asked if I had ever thought about writing a book. I said yes. He said, you should pursue it. Guys, this was a stranger in the parking lot of Winco, who I talked to for half an hour because he felt like God told him to come talk to me. He read to me from his journal. He played a song for me. We exchanged numbers. Like, this was one of those weird but sacred encounters with another human being.
Whether I want to call it God or not, this kid reminded me not to get lost in my family this summer. It’s so easy for me to take a back seat when my loved ones have things going on. A good gauge for me is, when someone asks me what’s going on with me, if my response is news about one of my 3 immediate family members first, that’s a red flag. And right now, all 3 of my people have things going on I could respond with. Tim just got back from Korea and is jet lagged and had to go right back to work. Macy’s show opens this weekend, which means she has rehearsal every night til 9pm. Penny spiked a fever and is stuck at home, which means I am stuck at home. Of course, all 3 of those realities affect me. And my semester ended a few weeks ago, so I’m game to step up. But I need to keep myself in the cornerstone of what’s going on with me. They will always something that’s going on with me, but it’s a red flag when their stuff is the only thing going on with me. And that’s why I’m writing today. I need to keep in step with me while I’m supporting 3 other people.
Have you ever met your younger self? If you did, what would you say?