Living in the Past

I remember several years ago when I was a new administrator at a school. Some of the changes that we had implemented were not very popular with some of the older teachers. These staff members had been there for a long time and had not been held accountable in some areas. They were very much ingrained in the philosophy of this is the way we have always done it. And they were reluctant to change. But changes were needed and it was not a popularity contest that we were conducting.

At any rate, one particular teacher made the following comment to me in a way that was obviously expressing her unhappiness. She said “Things sure aren’t the way they used to be.” Without thinking too much before I replied I simply said “No and they probably never were.” Well the changes were made and eventually everyone got on board.

Now truth be told we probably all have those feelings of “things sure aren’t the way they used to be.” We all have selective recall when it comes to remembering the past. Ask any older person and they will tell you about the good ole days. As a matter of fact I am probably old enough to recall the good ole days myself. As we remember the old days we sometimes remember it with our personal twist on it. And the older we get the better the old days were. We seem to forget there were problems then as well.

Sometimes I hear people complaining about today’s younger generation. But friends, if you lived through the sixties, surely you remember Woodstock, peace, hippies, drugs, make love not war, protests, antiestablishmentarianism, etc. The reality of this time period was not at all like watching an episode of Leave it to Beaver or Happy Days. No, there was serious unrest in the younger generation then and many of us were that younger generation!

And there is another side to the old days. Who among us does not have events in our lives that we regret? We all have painful experiences that we would love to do over again making better choices. Regret, guilt, pain, etc. is a part of everyone’s past. Yes, as we recall the past we all recall our failures.

But whether the past is a painful regret or a pleasant memory made even better with selective recall, the past is just that, it is the past. And no amount of longing, worry or attempts to bring it back will work. We need to leave it in the past. Certainly there are lessons to be learned from the past and I am not suggesting otherwise.

What I am suggesting is easier said than done but I believe it is necessary for us to be all GOD wants us to be today. Living in the past will rob us of the opportunity to make the most out of today. So what I am suggesting is to live for today. Let bygones be bygones. We cannot change the past. Don’t live with that mentality. It will destroy our ability to make the most of today. For that matter, so will trying to live in the future. We need to live today. Don’t let yesterday’s memory or tomorrow’s dreams steal your today.

Job said “Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when GOD watched over me.” (Job 29:2) GOD eventually reminded Job that HE was always watching over him. And through faithful service to GOD, Job was blessed again.

Let us rather be like the apostle Paul who said, “but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…” (Phil 3:13)

It may not be easy but let us strive to forget those things behind us and live today with the blessed hope of the eternal things ahead.

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2 Responses to Living in the Past

  1. David Courington says:

    Great thoughts, Bro. Glenn. Good way to start my Monday.

  2. Jason Taylor says:

    My favorite of your posts so far.

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