A Fine Line
There is a fine line between fondly remembering what has been and being stuck in what was. Not that I, or anyone else for that matter, have all the answer as to how one knows the difference or how one can avoid the latter while enjoying the former. All I know is that there is a fine line between the two. This is true in every person’s life.
You see this at its worst in the lives of those who are perpetually reliving their glory days. People who, from their perspective, peaked at some better time in their past. For these people their current life is nothing but a disappointment. The only saving grace for them is the endless opportunities to remember and re-tell stories of when life was good.
You see this at its best in the lives of those who love who they are, where they are and what they are doing, right here and right now. People who, from their perspective, wouldn’t think of trading today for yesterday. Even though they have very fond memories of yesterday. For these people the saving grace for them is the endless opportunities to live their good life, today.
These two perspective extremes are easy to identify. Yet, there is a third perspective that is way more insidious and much harder to catch. Even for the most diligent, self-aware and faithful person out there. Aka, the fine line.
It’s the “glory days” perspective that many of us have regarding certain aspects of our lives. The compartmentalization of your life where you are perfectly happy with the here and now of most of your life. While simultaneously living in the past “glory days” of some other part of your life.
It looks like the business man who is both a civic leader in his community as well as a spiritual leader in his church. He has a wonderful family, a great home and a successful career. He is innovative, always striving to learn and grow, so that he can stay on top of his game regarding his career, his relationships and his family.
Yet, when it comes to his faith, he still maintains a mentality and a relationship with Jesus that was born and developed in his youth. He has stopped innovating. He never strives to learn and grow in his faith. He not only isn’t on top of his game, he is still playing the game or desiring to play the game, that was taught to him several decades ago.
When he thinks about ministry, church, outreach, worship and the like, he thinks in terms, programs and styles of years gone by. Instead of living into how God is working in his life and the life of the church today, he simply resigns himself to wanting to recapture that which was. To recapture the “glory days”.
Yet, you might be saying, “There is value in looking back”. And you would be correct. Thus, the fine line that I referenced above. The two values of looking back in your life are (1) To see what God has done. To remember what has been. To celebrate what has been. And (2) To show you how far you have slipped away. Not slipped away in the sense that your life is now worse. But slipped away in the sense that the past was never as good as you remember it.
Memory is a funny thing. We all have the tendency to block out the negative and accentuate the positive. Not that everything was all bad in your past. But chances are very good that they also weren’t as grand as you imagine them to have been.
Thus, looking back has the benefit of perspective, learning, growth and mindset. Which can and will, if allowed, pave the way for you to live in the blessing of the here and now. After all, today will be the “glory days” of your future self. So, why not invest all you can into the present. Don’t forget what has been, what God has done. But don’t miss out on what God is doing. Find that fine line and walk it!