You and Future You

You're an achiever. You're here for a purpose and you know it. You've got a plan, and you don't understand those who don't. You are busy building future you. My city is full of people like you. Heck, my house is full of people like you. People like you are people like me, and we are, by default, living for the future version of ourselves. This is my natural mode. Call it a strength, decry it as a weakness—it's who I am. And largely speaking, it's who much of my city happens to be. We live today for tomorrow. And tomorrow we'll be living for the days following.

For me, the rabbit hole goes deeper. I have lists. My lists have lists. There are books I hope to write. Churches I hope to plant. Degrees I've yet to attain. Sermons I'm still to craft ...and that's just work me. Dad me and husband me have lists too. Conversations I've yet to have with my daughters. Adventures with my sons. Dates with my wife. Today I'm thinking about those things. All of those things. I think about all of those things every day. All of the things that future me will do. All of the goals future me will accomplish. All of the ways future me will be better.

And I sort of hate it.

Don't get me wrong, I love achieving. Most achievers do. But hidden within the God-given grace to get it done is a liability so sharp that you can hardly feel it cutting you. That is, until it's in so deep that you're hemorrhaging joy. You achieve and achieve, thinking that tinge of pain is nothing that can't be made better with a little more doing. Then you wake up one day and you feel it before you've done anything. You're already behind. It's 5:30am and you're already oppressed by the lists that future you is demanding you accomplish if you're going to be him one day. You've been cut. Now you're bleeding joy all over the floor.

The future version of yourself is a good guy, but he's a terrible god. He inspires you with his greatness—at least, the selfish, narcissistic you. But when you fail him, his knife awaits. Your holy book is your list, your worship is your work, and your reward is yourself—the "you" you so desperately hope to be.

O fellow achiever, hear these words well as I shout them in the chasms of my own soul:

The present Jesus is better than the future me.

Say it often. Say it in the morning when you already feel behind. Say it after accomplishing a great goal and your joy is full. Say it in the silent daily moments when your lists are pressing in. Say it before you sleep your short, efficient rest. He is better than you, even future you.

Jesus is a better God than future me, or future you. His holy book is the gospel, our worship is our joy, and our reward—thank God—is not ourselves. It is him. Glorious, gracious, God. When you please him and do all your list, remember that without his grace you'd accomplish nothing. When you fail him and your list is undone, remember that he is there with limitless grace for failures. The glory of God isn't in make the good better or the achiever more efficient. The glory of God is to make dead live. So, die to future you. Then, let Jesus make you live again.