I was out for one of my ordinary morning walks with my dog. As he is now a little old man, my dog doesn’t move very fast or go very far, on these daily morning walks. Thus, I have plenty of time to soak in the morning, think about my day or to simply day dream.
On this morning I gravitated toward day dreaming. For some reason I started reminiscing about all the trips that we took to Disney World, over the last twenty-three years. My mind went back to the very first time Michelle and I ever went to Disney, together. And how that one simple, short, trip planted a seed for what would later become a huge part of our family’s story.
Michelle and I were just dating when we went to Disney World for the first time. Now I had been to Disney World one other time, as a kid. Back when it was only the Magic Kingdom. But this time Michelle and I spent one day at EPCOT.
I don’t remember anything about the entire day, except for the fact that when the sun went down, we both got a little chilly. So, we bought some long sleeve shirts. They weren’t sweat shirts, just long-sleeved shirts. And they displayed the flags from every country around the world. And I remember that we wore those shirts as we sat around the World Showcase lake to watch Illuminations. The fireworks extravaganza at EPCOT, that marked the closing of the park each night.
That’s it. A random trip to EPCOT, a long-sleeved shirt and Illuminations. That’s all it took for me to go down a rabbit hole of twenty-three years of memories. Memories that concluded, at least on this morning, with the memory of Michelle and I returning to EPCOT, many years later, to sit in the exact same spot, by that exact same merchandise shop, to watch the very last night that Illuminations was presented at EPCOT.
These memories put a smile on my face and even brought a little tear to my eye. For they are very good memories. I pray that you have had, and are still having, the exact same experience, concerning your memories. I pray that your life has had, and is still having, memory making moments that will be reflected on with fondness. As you walk your dog, or drive your car or just sit around and ponder.
But then, I started to worry. Mostly because I had been studying Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Was my fond memories of Disney, while walking my dog, setting my mind on “earthly things”? Was I wrong, in some spiritual way, for these day dreams? That good old-fashioned guilt, that we all so easily allow to overwhelm us, started to rear its ugly head.
Then I remembered what someone taught me about studying the Bible – Don’t just take one verse, out of context, and apply it to a certain aspect of your life, out of context. Just like I was doing – taking Colossians 3:2, out of context with the rest of Colossians. And applying it to my fond memories of Disney World, out of context with the rest of my life.
That reminder led me to do a little more digging, in order to assuage my guilt. Which led me to Colossians 2:6, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” My day dreaming about Disney World, that morning with my dog, wasn’t me setting my mind on earthly things. It was me, living my life, rooted and built up in my faith in Jesus, and being thankful.
I share this with you because I want you to be able to hit reset in your life. Have you been dealing with guilt over your memories? Have you been battling with shame, because of decisions that you have made or steps that you have taken? Have you been troubled because someone, somewhere, somehow taught you that who you are and what you’re doing is wrong, according to the Bible?
Well, I’m not here to pass any judgement or to offer any dispensation of forgiveness. I’m here to invite you to get real about your guilt and shame. To get real about whatever it is with which you’re battling. And to take the time to truly study the Bible. Not just one verse, but the entire context of one verse. And then apply what you learn to whatever aspect of your life with which you are wrestling.
A word of warning – You won’t be able to successfully do this, all alone. Yes, you can search the internet to find answers to your questions and to find the context of a particular Bible passage. But you will need other people, with which to process this information.
That’s where the church comes into play. I pray that you have a connection with other followers of Jesus, so that you can process questions, such as these. I hope you have a place that is so much more than simply a building that you go to every now and again, on a Sunday. If you don’t, then I suggest that this would be your first priority.
In order to hit reset in your life, you need a community. You need a community to help you understand why you need to hit reset. And you need a community to help you to reset to a whole, healthy and peaceful place. Not reset to a more fractured, faulty, sin-stained place. For you can do that all on your own!