by Christine Sine
A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed for the Dear Daughters podcast. Before the interview I was asked to write a letter to my younger self. It was a wonderfully reflective exercise that had me revisiting my childhood and remembering both the good and challenging aspects of it. Interestingly it also had me revisiting my faith journey and asking myself questions that I thought you too would like to reflect on. This was fun and renewing — reminiscing is good for us and it is the topic of one of the chapters in my upcoming book The Gift of Wonder.
Why Did You Commit Your Life to Jesus?
At 15 I had a radical conversion experience. but I look back to my early childhood and realize that God was always nudging me. I always had a craving for something more from life, an awareness of a loving presence outside myself that held me, loved me and comforted me. Wen my spirit raged with anger God brought peace. When my soul felt abandoned God drew me close. When my life seemed full of ashes God showed me beauty. It is hard for me to remember all that made me commit my life to Jesus but I think it was primarily this feeling of only being complete when in God’s presence that was the initial draw, a feeling that has only strengthened as the years progressed.
What has kept you following him?
I grew up with an authoritarian, workaholic God who was hard to follow through those early years. At times my faith stumbled over the harsh disciplines God seemed to impose on me. More that anything it was discovering the God who invites me to be creative, to ask questions and use my imagination, that liberated me from the narrow confines of my early perspectives and kept me on the journey. In later years connecting to a God who loves fun and laughter and beauty has been even more strengthening of my faith. My soul sings with delight and my spirit is full of joy whenever I think of God. It doesn’t mean my faith ignores my own shortcomings and still broken areas, or that I am unaware of the brokenness of the world around me and my need to respond, but it does mean I am more easily able to face these and seek God’s forgiveness and step out in compassionate response.
What is One hope you have for the future of your faith?
My hope is that I will continue to learn more about the wonder and wisdom of my God until the day I die. I want to learn more about what God enjoys and how I can continue to delight the heart of God every day. For now though I will be satisfied with expressing the joy and delight that bubbles up from within at this moment.
What Would You Say To Your Younger Self?
Here is the letter I wrote to my younger self. What would you say?
Dear Eight Year Old Christine,
I write this on a snowy Seattle morning half a world and a lifetime away from where you sit hankering after travel and adventure. You always wanted to travel yet I am sure that in your wildest dreams you could never imagine how this desire will be fulfilled. You will travel far and have many adventures but not as a tourist.
Let your passions drive you, not just your passion for adventure but also your passion for learning, for gardening, and above all your passion for God, now nothing more than a seed but soon to blossom into a beautiful plant that will continue to grow throughout your life.
Reach for what God has seeded in your innermost being. Your love of life, adventure and learning are part of who God has created you to be. They will open your mind to new ideas, new perspectives on faith and new understandings of who God is. As you learn to integrate these deep desires your life will unfold in incredible ways. Most importantly your faith will be strengthened and your love for God will grow deep and strong.
Reach for the extraordinary. Don’t give in to your weaknesses. Never say I couldn’t do that because… And when people tell you something cannot be done because no one has ever done it before, don’t believe them. Try it anyway. You will make mistakes, but you will also make surprising things happen. That is one of your gifts. You will encounter some incredible opportunities and accomplish some amazing things. Don’t let it go to your head though. Learn from the extraordinary people you admire who remain humble and teachable recognizing that the universe is far bigger than they are.
Don’t be afraid to stretch beyond your comfort zones or the comfort zones of those around you. Take risks, experiment, let your creativity inspire you. It is in the wonderful gifts of the unexpected that you will find your greatest fulfillment.
Relish your uniqueness. You are a strong woman. Don’t expect to tread the traditional paths in your career, your lifestyle or your life choices. Be confident in who God has created you to be and don’t let others shape you into the person they think you should become.
Smile often, be kind to others, open yourself to awe and wonder and have fun with life. Don’t be too hard on yourself and learn to love and believe in yourself at an earlier age than I did.