You’re not going that way.
But we all do it.
Sure, we do it for memories of good times with friends and family. We do it to remember those times because they were so much fun. Weddings, birthday parties, special vacations, and for us, the birth of our first granddaughter. We look at all the photos and remember exactly what we were doing at specific times in those events, and feel a bit nostalgic as we remember, smiling to ourselves or each other about how wonderful that time was.
But this isn’t what I’m talking about here. Not at all.
There are other times we remember. Times of loss and great sorrow. Times we thought we were truly happy, on top of the world. Life really couldn’t get much better.
Until “it” happened, and your world was turned upside down.
A betrayal by a loved one which results in a severed marriage, losing not only your spouse, but your home and everything you thought you had been blessed with.
The sudden loss of a job you thought you were going to retire from many years from now. With no warning, no severance pay, and no prospects of other employment on the horizon. And even worse, bad and untrue things being said about you that will most likely make you unemployable in your chosen field.
A devastating diagnosis with a bleak and seemingly hopeless prognosis for the future. Suddenly the future you thought was bright and shiny, well, it’s not only dark and frightening, but you can’t even see very far into that future, and you wonder if there even is one.
And then you REALLY start looking back.
And you wonder, what if? Why can’t I just go back to that other time? And before you know it, all you’re doing is dwelling on the past, wishing you were back there where things were good again. Surely you’d be able to do something to prevent that awful thing that happened to you to put you in this particular place. This place you don’t like; that you’ll never call home; that you’ll never be able to accept.
And instead of working your way out of it, you stay mired in memories of the past, because you continue to look back. You even find yourself praying, “Lord, please, just give me that chance to put it all back together like it was, because this time I’ll do it right! I’ll make it work. You’ll see…”
That doesn’t happen, does it? No matter how hard you pray, how hard you ask, how hard you wish. How hard you try to make it happen.
Because whether you believe it or not, truly, there’s something better coming, and it’s coming sooner than you think.
But if you keep trying to live in the past, looking back on what used to be and trying to bring it back, you’re going to miss the future ahead of you. A future more wonderful than you can imagine. Because your life, like all of our lives, is destined to keep us moving ahead, to bigger and better things. Or, as several of us like to say, to a “better than.”
A better future than your past. A better and even closer relationship with a new spouse than you ever dreamed was possible with your former spouse. Someone who will love and appreciate you like no one else ever has.
A home of your own that’s nothing like the one you lost. But it’s the perfect one; nothing like what you used to have. No bad memories allowed to enter. Only the knowing that it’s what you’ve always longed for.
The perfect job…the one that seems it was created just for you. A job where you’re respected, appreciated, and where you can put your years of knowledge and experience to work, and make a difference in a company that appreciates you.
There are so many more things ahead of each and every one of us, if we will only stop looking back, and living in the past, wishing it could reappear for a “do over.” And even if we could do it over, it would still have the same similar ending, and you’d still be searching the past rather than looking ahead to a bright future.
It’s not our timing, it’s not for us to know, what the Lord has planned for us. Because if we did, we’d want to make it happen immediately, instead of when it’s supposed to happen. We aren’t always ready for that bright new future He has for us, because we have to walk through certain things in order to get there. And in order to fully appreciate the end results.
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
How easy it is to forget that promise; to make our own plans and insist our way, our wants and desires, are so much better.
But our way doesn’t usually work. Unless it’s His way. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.”
The new year has begun. Don’t try to bring the old year into it with you.
Don’t look back. You’re not going there.