The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Don't look back

This week I was thinking about so many things. But mostly I was reliving memories. I was thinking about my old job and how lucky I was to be able to travel and see the whole United States with my husband and get paid for it. We really enjoyed that job. 
Before that I spent a year working as a resident assistant in a nursing home. It was a very satisfying and rewarding job. 
Before that job I spent many many years driving and working around school buses. It was a good job that fit my needs at the time my kids were growing up.
While I worked at these jobs, I liked them well enough, but there were days when it was not my favorite places to be.
Then I was thinking about my kids. They are all grown and living their own lives. But I was remembering times when they were younger and we had such good times playing games in the yard, hiking adventures through the woods, and just enjoying being a loving family.
We had such good times then.
But if I am totally honest, there were many times that we played in the yard and had adventures in the woods as ways to distract the kids from realizing that we couldn't afford real vacations like other families.
Memories are funny because as I am remembering the wonderful, traveling adventures with my husband I am forgetting about the traffic jams, the cancelled loads, the sitting around between loads, missing my home and family.
We always tend to hang onto the good memories and let go of the bad ones. I wonder why. And because we do, our past life always seems better than our present life.
It makes my think about Lot's wife in the Bible. She is mostly thought about in a negative light because as she and her family were hastily fleeing from their home, she looked back. She just looked back. And God turned her into a pillar of salt. 
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:1-3, 12-13, 15-17, 24-26 ESV)

The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.”
I do not want to be looking back at any part of my life and wishing for "the good old days." I have got to be living in the moment and living joyfully as God would have me to.
There is nothing wrong with memories. And there is nothing wrong with enjoying my memories, but when I am fearful of the present, or dissatisfied in my current situations and I get to longing for the past, I am in danger of sinning against God's will and direction for my life.
Life can be hard and/or upsetting sometimes, but if we live a while longer, these days will be looked back on pleasantly. 
Lord, help me to live in and through the now. Teach me to trust you. Help me to be disciplined to live joyfully and be the salt of the earth that is good.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)
Salt is a preservative and an enhancer. I want to be a preservative to the world of sin. I would like to help keep others from being spoiled by the rottenness of the world. And I would like to enhance and influence people for Christ.
So memories are ok, but longing for the past isn't.

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