That very thought has pervaded the inner recesses of my mind recently. Time flies. The concept of time is difficult for me to grasp. It baffles my mind to think that I’ve been on earth for twenty-three, almost twenty-four, years. In a relative sense, it’s a short amount of time. I’m young. I’ve not lived all too long. Albeit true, I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes over with all of the places I’ve been, the things I’ve done, and the circumstances I’ve endured.
How am I going to feel when I’m 70?
Nostalgia has never lifted my spirits. For some, it encourages, motivates, and inspires but for me, it depresses. I often find myself in a time of mourning over the loss of the “good times.”
I went through this heavily after I moved halfway through my senior year of high school. Ticked at the world? You bet. I had finally found a place that I belonged and developed relationships that stood with me. I had found a home. To be stripped of that, again, was difficult.
A short year after I found myself falling into the woes of my depression. My nostalgia dug me deeper into myself. My anger buried me inside.
The “move” back to Florida my senior year is the circumstance that I associate the beginning of my downward slide with. I don’t carry any begrudging feelings towards the situation but I do remember spending many days mourning the loss of what was.
What I didn’t realize was that my sorrow for what I could never regain precluded me from enjoying what I had been given.
I’m not going to write to you and tell you that the years after my graduation were easy. They were anything but. I struggled to find friends. I was fired from a job. I wasn’t pursuing the career that I wanted. I had turned my back on God and on my family. I wanted to kill myself.
My nostalgia, birthed out of anger, suffocated every good thing trying to make its way to the surface of my heart.
Fast forward to where I am today and I can say that I still struggle with the very same issue. I often find my mind running towards the “what could have been’s” and the “should’ve handled that better’s.” It’s funny how nostalgia works.
I often think to myself that I am living inside some of the best years of my life. Despite its difficulties, these last three years have grown me in ways that I could never have imagined. I’ve met people that I’ll never forget. I’ve traveled to places that some would give everything that they had to see. So why do I still get sad?
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s normal. I get depressed. I get lonely. I miss what was. I miss what could have been. Even though it may be normal to feel these things, what good does living in the non-existent do?
You see, no matter how differently my brain likes to think a situation should have gone, it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. There is nothing that I, or you, can do to change the past. It’s there. It gives us a foundation to work from. Some of us regret ours. Some of us wish to relive it. Regardless, our past provides with two opportunities.
1.) Mourn it and miss what’s in front of us
2.) Learn from it and celebrate where we are now
I don’t want this to sound like I am minimalizing depression because I am not. However, some forms of depression simply exist because our perspective of our previous, or current, circumstances needs to be shifted.
I don’t have all of the answers to life’s questions. I don’t know why God allows certain things to happen in your and my life. The Bible directly tells us that our ways are not His ways so it’s a moot point to try and solve. What I have learned to be true, though, is that God is faithful despite ourselves.
That means that no matter who you were, what you did, or how you turned out could ever take God’s love away from you. He loves you despite yourself. We’re sinners. We deserve hell. I know that it’s not popular to preach that truth but I’ll be the first to admit that I deserve an eternity in hell for my sins. What saves me, though, is the undying love and forgiveness of a God who offers it freely to those who turn away from their sins.
Please don’t think that I am suggesting that your and my depression is a result of our sin. I don’t know your situation. My point is this: No matter what happened, happens, or will happen, there is a God who loves you. He loves me, too. He even loves me when I’m far too ungrateful to realize what He’s blessed me with in the here and now.
What I need most is a perspective shift. Yes, bad things have happened. Yes, I’ve experienced some shady circumstances. I’ve seen better times and I’ve endured worse. What has never changed is the faithfulness of a God who says that it’s all going to work out for my good and His glory. All that I have to do is trust.
Trust that He knows.
Trust that He’s going to take care of me.
Trust that one day I will see His face and my pain will be erased.
Trust that one day I will never have to deal with depression again.
Times change. People change. God never does. I could choose to spend the rest of my life wishing for what used to be or I could realize the blessings that I have been given today. I’m not saying that life will always be easy. We all know that’s garbage. What I do believe is that hope never dies, even when it feels like hope never existed.
Nostalgia isn’t my enemy and it isn’t yours. The past is there for good reason. Learn from it. Use it as motivation for today. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, though. You and I both know that it doesn’t do us any good.
As I spend time looking back and seeing how far I’ve come, I’m deciding to simply smile and say “Thank you, God” even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted it too.
You should too.
Our first entry into the Finding Who We Are series is THIS Wednesday!! I’ve begun work on editing this week’s entry and it brought me to tears. I hope that you are looking forward to it.
I’ve completely filled the month of November with entries and am looking for December participants! Email me at email@example.com or comment below if you’d like an opportunity to share your story.
You are loved.
You are valued.
Don’t give up.