Ecclesiastes 7-8

I’ve been really nostalgic lately. Summertime in the northwest always floods my mind with sparkly, light-filled, berry-stained memories of working at summer camp or traveling to Europe and generally enjoyable times over my life. In a challenging season of parenting, I’ve been nostalgic for my child-free days where every hour of the day was mine. Running an errand was effortless, leisurely and productive. Every night with Matt felt like a Friday. I bumped into old friends this weekend and was instantly hurdled back ten years, when I was single, my world was small and revolved around my social life. It’s great to fondly remember old times, it can even be cathartic sometimes. But I agree wholeheartedly when I read this verse this morning:

“Don’t long for the ‘good old days’. This is not wise.” 7:10

Why not? And what are we suppose to do when we get together with old friends if not retell exaggerated versions of our time together? I think appreciating and longing for are two different mindsets. Fixating on the past does a couple damaging things.

It takes you out of the present moment. It’s really hard to stay engaged, content and intentional when you’re daydreaming and comparing your life to something else.

It’s not really accurate. Nostalgia has a wonderful way of diminishing the negative memories and bringing the positive ones front and center. My life was not that great before we had Taylor. I was terribly self-centered, selfish and most nights Matt and I stayed in anyway. There have probably only been three events I’ve missed out on in the past two years because I Have Kids Now and I’m often thankful for the excuse to stay in. My single life was a wreck and I mostly spent time daydreaming about what it would be like to be married. It helps a lot to be realistic with yourself about the circumstance you’re longing for. I rely on my old journals to set myself straight. Our hearts are fickle, wavering at a moment’s notice. I’m a huge advocate for writing stuff down, especially for this reason. Reading about how you really felt in a situation will help you appropriately appreciate it.

It brews discontentment. Because we’re often only fixating on the positive, we start comparing our circumstances. Past jobs, churches, relationships, living situations, or cities start to look flawless and more desirable.

Do you find yourself longing for a season of life you’re not in anymore?

Set aside time to process this. Ask yourself why that’s happening. Is there a change to be made? Or are you leaving the door open for discontentment to stroll in? Stop to pray and repent if this convicts your heart.

 

-Carly

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