As I write this, we have a pregnant guardian dog, Sister Bear, that is fighting what needs to happen. She has been fighting the last 3 days. She knows something is happening in her body and she wants relief. I am not sure she knows that her pain and discomfort will lead to new life. But, I can see the new life. I can see the pain. I can see it will be beautiful and messy. I can see that she will literally be a life-bearer in the days ahead.
[In my last post I wrote about finding your word or phrase for 2016 in the quiet moments. If you have not read that yet, give it a quick read here. If you have not read it, rest of this will not make a whole lot of sense.]
This process of writing this letter to ourselves may feel a lot like what Sister Bear is experiencing now.
We sense the uncomfortable. We sense the pain and tension. We feel we are not what we know we should and could be. We can sense the new life.
To experience new life, we must be willing to claim the process that brings the new life. Writing the letter is an acknowledgement of where you are and a declaration of where you are going.
Some practical points of how you go about writing the letter:
Make time to do it. When your thoughts are running hard and you come to the word or phrase for your next season, find some immediate time to sit down and commit to paper what is going inside of you. There’s an urgency to these thoughts. Invest your time.
Use whatever method of recording your words that works best for you. I usually type mine since I can do that more quickly that write. My preference is getting my words on the page as quickly as I can because I need to. Some people like the physical effort of taking a pen to paper. Whichever the case may be…
Get outside of yourself. To write this letter you have to imagine you are writing a letter to yourself from a different persepective. It is a bit bizarre at first. Just imagine that you are sitting in one chair and you are looking at “your life” from the other chair. Again, this might be the moment that you stop reading this, but it works.
Be honest and blunt with yourself. Do not pull any punches. Speak with power, authority, and brutal honesty to yourself. I have shared pieces and portions with my wife before, but for the most part this letter is between God and I. The contents of my letter usually revolve around my word or phrase. I then look at how that word plays out in my personal/spiritual development, what it means to my family, what it means to my friends, to the places I work and lead. Sometimes there are a few specific things that emerge in this writing that look like goals for the next year. I usually spend a decent amount of time addressing the things that hinder these things from growing in my life.
Write the rough draft let it sit for a few days. After it sits for a few days, edit it, clarify it, add the things that have been given a few days to mature. You would not write a heart to heart letter to a dear friend and just send it without review. You would clean it up, you would make sure you are saying exactly what you mean. Do that for yourself so that you have a clear letter that is encouraging and honest.
Return to the letter the first time life goes sideways. It is just a matter of time before you forget why you are doing what you are doing. It is just a matter of time before your choice of to do this or that is shadowed by doubt. It is just a matter of time before your personhood is questioned. Take the letter out and be reminded of who you are and who you are becoming.
The process of doing this will offer much life. Give it a try and let me know what you experience.
May this New Year be filled with change and growth. May it be filled with alignment. May you know that God is working something out in you.
May your know in experience the words of St. Paul in Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”