I think that one of my glaring weaknesses is that I tend to look back through the pages of time more often than is necessary or healthy.
My heart repeatedly flips through the memory book of yesterday … as I relive moments … savor past holidays … enjoy ordinary days … and recall the sweet sound of voices and laughter.
Why am I like this?
Does everyone do this?
Or is it a fault unique only to me?
Frequently I long for … even ache for … “the good old days” of yesteryear.
“Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
When I find myself refusing to escape from the time tunnel of reminiscence, I admit that I am stubbornly focusing on a perception that is only half-true.
I refuse to recall the “hard” … and only linger upon the “easy”.
I forget the pain …and solely embrace the delight.
I ignore the aggravations … but splash in the pleasantries.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason I default to the happy days of the past is because I am unhappy with my life today.
That is likely partially true … but not fully so.
I actually love my current life …
I love being a Marmee to 9 delicious grandchildren …
I love serving the Lord … writing books … ministering to a lost and hurting generation … teaching the Word of God to anyone who will listen …
I love the friendships I have cultivated over the years and now are bearing rich fruit …
I love the stage of marriage that I am in … even though Craig and I both travel a lot … when we are together it is good … very, very good.
And yet … I wonder if I am sincerely engaged in today simply because I can so quickly and easily get lost in yesterday.
When the children were young …
When I lived near my mom …
When the children were all following the Lord …
When my dad was alive …
When my children needed me …
When I had more of life in front of me than behind me …
I have heard it said that memories are the personal diary that we get to carry in our hearts.
I know that to be true.
“Sometimes small memories cover a large part of our hearts.”
Maybe the conundrum is not in the constant remembering as much as it is the emotions that the memories stir up in my heart.
If I am constantly melancholy … that is not a good thing.
If I can be happy over the life I have been given … that is a good thing.
If I would rather have it be yesterday than today … that is not a good thing.
If I can learn the lessons of yesterday and apply them to today … that is a good thing.
If remembering yesterday makes me unhappy with today … that is not a good thing.
If the goodness that I have experienced in my life fills my heart with gratitude …that is a wonderful thing.
“Sometimes memories sneak out from my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”
And so, I trudge forward … armed with my memories … with gratitude in my heart … and with the wisdom that I have attained.
I can linger upon the sweetness of yesterday only momentarily because I must live fully in today.
I’ve often believed that the word “today” should be a verb.
I need to “today” with my whole heart.
I must “today” enthusiastically and enjoy the treasure that it holds.
I must “today” in moments of quietude rather than reflect upon the melody of yesterday.
I need to choose to “today” even when my heart wants to remain in my memories.
And there comes a defining moment in my search for happiness among the shadows of the past when I determine to default to my faith rather than to my feelings.
As I choose not to ignore the photograph album of my heart but to just set it aside for now … I decide to open a different book … a grander book … an eternal book.
The Bible does indeed have an opinion on what I should remember and what I should forget.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits.”
If I can look at the past and applaud the Lord for His goodness … then I get to remember.
“That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments.”
If thinking about yesterday increases my confidence in the Lord and in His faithfulness … then I get to remember.
“I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”
As I look back upon the ages and stages of my life, I need to forget my weaknesses, failures and disappointments, and fully remember everything that God has done for me.
If I can forget “my stuff” and remember only “His stuff” … it is then that I discover the power and purpose of memory.
If I can remember what God has done … that memory will lay a solid foundation in my heart as I wait for what He will do tomorrow.
I’m on a journey … as we all are.
I am learning to lay down my preferences … my opinions … and even my memories at the foot of that old rugged cross.
I am dying to self … and committing myself to become more like Christ.
And so today … I wrap up those bittersweet memories with the truth of Scripture … and I set my face toward tomorrow.
He will be there to meet me.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect,
but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12 – 13
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart, but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!
Used with permission from carolmcleodministries.com.