Have you taken a moment to thank your Past Self today?
I worked with a woman who did. Searching through a set of files, she’d discover some random, but now useful, piece of design from previous years, and say, “Thank you, Past Loralyn, for saving that.”
Past Loralyn? Past Self? I loved this.
Flash forward a few weeks later. It’s 6:45am, and I’m searing a roast in a skillet. On the countertop there’s a floppy yellow cutting board, with a chunk of sliced onions, and diced garlic. I’m in my robe and the fact my freshly washed hair is going to stink of seared meat for the rest of the day makes me more than a little irritable.
Yet in that moment, I’m reminded of that little office, and that boss, and those words.
“Future You will thank you, Present Self,” I say out loud to only me, and sear on, before wrestling this honking piece of meat into a crock pot.
That night, I walk in the door, rowdy kid in tow, rowdy dog at the door, arms full of everything, and I smell that roast.
You know what? Past Me was right. Future Me, now Present Me, was so thankful. Present Me wanted to self-five Past Me.
It was a complicated, and gratifying Matrix-esque moment.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to give ourselves more of this credit?
Look at Past Me, paying that utility bill on time- well done, Past Me!
Check out Present Me, remembering to check kiddo’s got her ballet shoes before we pull out of the driveway for dance class. Crushing it.
Hello Future Me – get excited about this snack I remembered to pack for you, when dance class runs late, and you’re chomping at the bit for something to eat. Enjoy that, friend.
Most of us are carrying out these simple behaviors all day, every day, all the time, and we aren’t giving ourselves a word of notice or appreciation for them.
Because those simple behaviors, those every day actions, that’s the big stuff. It’s one after the other, mundane decisions adding up to one big life.
What would our inner monologue look like if we borrowed a page from Loralyn’s book and noticed when one of our Selves really got it right?
Because most of us know the flip side, don’t we?
Why was I so stupid? Why didn’t I set down my costly and ridiculously delicate iPhone before I tried to wrestle the dog’s leash onto her collar? Stupid, stupid.
What an idiot! Am I really getting onto the interstate, in rush hour traffic, thinking I’m gonna make that meeting on time?
I’m going to hate myself tomorrow for that second slice of everything I had at dinner tonight.
We can choose either response: praise those positive Past/Present/Future Me moments. Or beat that same girl into the ground in all tenses.
Thinking on this subject tonight, this piece of Scripture jumped out at me.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.John 1:16, ESV
Grace upon grace? Um, yes please.
Little catches, that’s all it takes. Those moments when I feel pushed, stressed, frazzled, at a hot skillet in my work clothes with meat-stinky hair moments? That’s the moment to remind myself, gifts will come from taking time now.
When I walk in the door that night, that’s when I remind myself: remember that Past You this morning, whipping up dinner before you even ate breakfast? Let’s give that girl a Self-Five.
Am I alone in needing these nudges of encouragement far more than I need those butt-kicks of condemnation?
Because God doesn’t seem to be shaking His big God head at us, smacking His Holy forehead in disbelief, and exclaiming, “What a moron! Doesn’t she know she’s gonna drop that iPhone? Has she not seen herself and this dog before?”
He’s not looking at those constant, throughout-the-day missteps, and judging us as a real dumpster-fire of a human being.
Instead He’s offering grace upon grace.
I mean, I don’t quite understand why, but since John wrote it, I believe it.
No take-backs, Lord.
So I’m hopeful, giving myself a little more self-directed good job and a little less you dum-dum talk could go a long way into making me less like me, and more like Him. With His grace upon grace.
All of my selves- Past Me, Present Me, Future, Me – we are so in on this plan.
Have you had any moments lately that could use some appreciation? A three cheers, a hip-hip-hooray? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to hear about it!