I’m a collector. Not just any collector, but an emotional collector. Old photographs, dried corsages, drawings by my children, love notes from my students, letters from my grandparents all saved. Some in boxes or on shelves, some in albums, and still others stuck between the pages of my Bible. Each precious piece tells a story of my life. I cling to them. I depend on them to take me back in time so I can recall that very moment like it was yesterday. Fingering the soft material of my babies’ blankets, reading personal messages in greeting cards I’ve received over the years, and using dishes that used to be in my Grandma’s kitchen all kindle a myriad of memories for me.
Recently, I was looking at my “teacher shrine”. (Yes, I have filled a shelf with bits and pieces of my teaching career; things I couldn’t bear to throw away or even put away.) As I stood there reminiscing with each item I began to wonder:
why do I so passionately hold fast to things that take me backward?
As I’ve spent time with this question I have come to realize that looking backward is safe and safe is what I like. Preserving fragments of life allows me to pick and choose the experiences I recall. The people, events, and feelings connected to each memory don’t change and change is what I don’t like so, cradling the past has protected me from the anxiety of taking steps into the unknown. Whoa! This is big! You see, I’ve been praying, with no result, for God to show me His plan for my life, but how could He? Just as an Owl can completely turn its head around I now realize that I’ve diverted my focus away from the life adventure that is waiting ahead for me.
Maybe you’re like me and while spending time in our
“temple of memories,”
we have missed opportunities for Divine adventures and to worship God, the writer of our futures.
Traveling down memory lane is fun every now and then, but I think it’s time for me to clear off a few shelves, empty some boxes, clean out the temple, and give myself space to make new memories. It won’t be easy. Anxiety? You bet! I’ll have to take it one box at a time but, eyes forward, I’m determined to “press on” toward living life in the direction God is leading me and not looking back.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
I have written this post as part of Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday. Want to read more about anxiety and adventure? Go to her website www.tsuzanneeller.com for inspiration.