As I climbed into my truck today I got quite a surprise. Under the wiper on the driver’s side I found a letter. Oddly enough, it was from me to me. Even more peculiar is that it was dated tomorrow.

I was understandably suspicious. Who had ever heard of such a thing? But it was in my handwriting and the words I found written in that letter spoke directly to me. Here is what I read:

Dear Jimmy,

I know this will seem very weird to you and that you’ll be more than a little skeptical, but I wanted to take this once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk to my past self – which is your present self. I hope you’ll accept this with an open mind. I’ve got some advice and encouragement for you, well, I guess I can say it’s for me – at least it’s the words I wish someone had told me yesterday. So here we go.

ImageDon’t let criticism dominate your day. The world is full of critics. Sometimes they speak painful truth, but other times they speak painful lies. Listen to what they say. Filter it through what you know is true. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Then move on. Today you’ll be tempted to let criticism hover over you like a dark cloud. You get to choose whether you allow it.

Speak kindly. I know you didn’t get the best night’s sleep, and who better than me knows how grouchy you can get when that happens? You really won’t feel like speaking kindly to the teller at the bank, the server at Waffle House or the lady in front of you at Ingles who searched for ten minutes for a ten-cent coupon. Do it anyway. That teller is having marital problems. The server doesn’t know how she’ll make rent this month. And the lady in front of you has to take expensive medication that is not covered by her insurance. It won’t cost you a thing to be kind to them.

Don’t skip your quiet time with God. I know your day is busy. I know you’ll be tempted to skim a few verses and throw up a quick prayer before heading out the door. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Remember Jesus said that man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the Father’s mouth. You need to hear from God more than you need to eat breakfast. I promise you that today you need to hear what God has to say. Trust me on this one!

Be generous. I know you’re not rich, and I hate to break it to you but you’ll be no richer tomorrow, even so, be generous. God has blessed you in so many ways; share those blessings. Buy the raffle ticket from the 6th grader. Tip a little extra at lunch. Remember that your life affects how people view your God – and your God is lavishly gracious and generous!

Be creative. You think that the little tasks that fill your to-do lists are the most important things today. They are important, but let me tell you a little secret – If you don’t take time today to do a little creative writing, you’ll regret it. Hey, remember whose writing to you. I’m you, only I’m you tomorrow. I’m the guy who’ll have to live with your regret, so cut me some slack.

Oh, here’s one more important thing – Tell your family how much you love them. No, I’m not here to warn you that tragedy is going to happen and that you’ll regret not having said “I love you” one more time. Your family is fine. But your wife had a challenging day. Even though she did everything pretty well, she still felt insecure about a couple of decisions. She had a heavy load today and she doesn’t know how she’s going to get everything done before the week ends. Your children had a pretty good day, too, but they are wrestling with decisions about their future and their present. They need to know that dad is in their corner. A simple text message is all it will take to energize and encourage all of them. Go ahead. Stop right now and do it!

I guess there is a lot more I could tell you, but I think you’ve got enough for now. Your tomorrow self will greatly appreciate it if you heed this advice. I’m not sure I’ll be able to write like this again, so take full advantage of it. Remember – today matters tomorrow and every day after that.

 It was signed with my signature. I read the letter over and over again. I folded the letter and put it in my pocket and then headed for the bank. There’s a teller there who needed a kind word.

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