A Letter to Self

(Courtesy of Brennan Manning)

Good morning, impostor. Surely you are surprised by the cordial greeting… Let me begin by admitting that I have been unreasonable, ungrateful, and unbalanced in my appraisal of you. (Of course, you are aware, puff of smoke, that in addressing you, I am talking to myself. You are not some isolated, impersonal entity living on an asteroid but a real part of me.)

I come to you today not with a rod in hand but with an olive branch. When I was a little shaver and first knew that no one was there for me, you intervened and showed me where to hide…

At that moment in time, you were invaluable. Without your intervention I would have been overwhelmed by dread and paralyzed by fear. You were there for me and played a crucial, protective role in my development. Thank you.

When I was four years old, you taught me how to build a cottage. Remember the game? I would crawl under the covers from the head of the bed to the footrest and pull the sheets, blanket, and pillow over me–actually believing that no on could find me. I felt safe. I’m still amazed at how effectively it worked. My mind would think happy thoughts, and I would spontaneously smile and start to laugh under the covers. We built that cottage together because the world we inhabited was not a friendly place.

But in the construction process you taught me how to hide my real self from everyone and initiated a lifelong process of concealment, containment, and withdrawal. But then your malevolent side appeared and you started lying to me. “Brennan,” you whispered, “if you persist in this follow of being yourself, your few long-suffering friends will hit the bricks, leaving you all alone. Stuff your feelings, shut down your memories, withhold your opinions, and develop social graces so you’ll fit in wherever you are.”

And so, the elaborate game of pretense and deception began. Because it worked I raised no objection. As the years rolled by, you-I got strokes from a variety of sources. We were elated and concluded the game must go on.

But you needed someone to bridle you and rein you in. I had neither the perception nor the courage to tame you, so you continued to rumble like Sherman through Atlanta, gathering momentum along the way. Your appetite for attention and affirmation became insatiable. I never confronted you with the lie because I was deceived myself.

The bottom line, my pampered playmate, is that you are both needy and selfish. You need care, love, and a safe dwelling place… my gift is to take you where, unknowingly, you have longed to be–into the presence of Jesus. Your days of running riot are history. From now on, you slow down, slow very down.

In His presence, I notice that you have already begun to shrink. Wanna know somethin’ little guy? You’re much more attractive that way. I am nicknaming you “Pee-Wee.” Naturally, you are not going to roll over suddenly and die. I know you will get disgruntled at times and start to act out, but the longer you spend time in the presence of Jesus, the more accustomed you grow to His face, the less adulation you will need because you will have discovered for yourself that He is Enough. And in the Presence, you will delight in the discovery of what it means to live by grace and not by performance.

Your friend,                                                                                                                                   Brennan

From: Abba’s Child, Manning, Brennan (1994). Colorado Springs: NavPress.

About Brooke Seager, Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist

As a Christian marriage and family therapist, my goal is to help you uncover your true potential in Christ and lead a life that is worth celebrating. While we can't change difficult situations of the past, we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges in your life. By applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, we will unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions that may be holding you back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life that brings glory to God. For more info: www.brookeseager.com
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