I don’t think many of us realize the power of our imaginations. We can’t all write bestselling fantasy novels, make award-winning short films, or paint Pinterest-worthy quotes on flowery backgrounds. But we all imagine things, whether it’s alternate scenarios for the past or possible scenarios for the future. If you’re like me, then you spend a buttload of time imagining your ideal self.
These are a few of the items on my “to be” list:
- The kind of person who keeps a conversation going with questions about what’s new in your world rather than rants about the latest Harry Potter news.
- An impeccable dresser, featuring lots of sweaters and tights.
- A timely manager of time management, who actually does homework before the wee hours of the night.
- A tea drinker. (Chai is my current favorite.)
- A better email-responder-er. A.k.a. someone who actually responds to emails ever, because right now… I never do.
- The friend who remembers birthdays, resolves arguments with face-to-face conversations instead of text messages, and smiles unabashedly when I see you.
I’m excellent at picturing the person I want to be, but lately I’ve found that becoming her is a little bit harder. Fortunately, Paul has some advice on the subject.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me… forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”
It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to fit a certain “type” and measure up to impossible standards. Hipster musician chai tea enthusiast with the Christian reputation and artsy-est Instagram is the profile I try to squeeze into most often. But honestly, tee shirts are often more comfortable than skirts and I don’t see the point of adding a white border to every single photo. Still, there are some imagined qualities that I would like to possess, specifically regarding the type of friend I want to be.
I think what Paul is telling us in these verses is to sort through our many standards, prioritize them, throw the unimportant ones out the window, and then… become who we’re called to be. I have not heard a voice from heaven instructing me to invest in more cardigans, but I have read a Bible that tells me to invest in people. We don’t have to be whatever we deem the “perfect” version of ourselves in order to be exactly what we’re meant to be. God doesn’t need two monograms per outfit or an obscure enough music taste; He wants willing hearts. It is still completely fine to imagine future you with a home straight out of Pinterest, but if you’re being honest, there’s always been something deeper to your desires, right? There is an echo of Eden inside our souls that knows what we were made for. And like Paul says, we can press on toward that goal as we also run toward Christ. Looking past our mistakes and toward our purpose, we no longer have to just sit and long for what we were created to be. We have the privilege and the power to become it.