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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Nostalgia Blues

"Yesterday / All my troubles seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay / Oh, I believe in yesterday" - The Beatles

I journal. Besides a tin foil hat, it’s the only way to keep all my thoughts together.

I’ve written down ideas about my life ever since I was 14 years old. What began as just a way to talk about boys blossomed into a 15-year love affair with journaling. It even spawned different versions. I write journals for my dreams, my prayers, and I hope one day to have one I can give to my spouse. I figure it will help him understand why I refrigerate my bananas and why I'm morbidly afraid of soggy bread.

It’s a beautiful thing to be your own incremental autobiographer. What I love the most is seeing how much things have changed. I can look back and see the complete revolution of seasons that God took me through.

Last night I thumbed through my prayer journal and read a thorough account of the summer of 2004. It was an unusual three months. It would take too long to explain, but it was a time of great spiritual awareness. I was living with a friend, and we both prayed a lot. There were amazing times of spontaneous worship. God was speaking to me through dreams. Words of knowledge were flowing. It was like Joel 2:28 exploded in my apartment. There was an intimacy with God that I hadn’t seen since my college days.

I read the last August entry and whispered in prayer, “Wow, God. We had some good times, didn’t we?” And before I could understand why, a tear slipped down my cheek.

After I thought about it for a moment, I realized that I missed that summer. I missed the incredible faith of those moments. I was in tune with God on the highest frequency. Prayers were answered left and right. I felt like more than a Christian; I was a prayer warrior.

These days, things aren’t quite the same. They’re not bad. I’m certainly not backslidden. But it’s just different. A few tricky life situations came along, and over time I found my soul too worn out to truly believe that anything was possible. Reading over that summer, I wished that I could have that time back – and with it, the kind of faith that could move the mountains that I currently see.

Almost as soon as I read it, the Lord reminded me of two passages.

"Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions." (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NIV)

"'Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.'" (Isaiah 43:18-19)

See, reminiscing is not our problem. God is only concerned when we idolize the past so much that we would rather be there than in the present. We can’t serve Him dragging our feet in the good ol’ days. He is a God of forward motion.

Besides, let’s be honest. Most of us don’t want to go back to a certain time as it was; we want to go back with the knowledge we have today. And that’s cheating. You can’t retake the exam after you have seen the answer sheet.

So I believe in yesterday to the extent that it provides interesting reading material.  However, the person who is fully alive and shining with God’s glory is fully in the moment and embracing the new challenges that God brings with every bright morning.

I hope that person is you. I hope you’re writing more journal entries than you’re reading. I hope you’re making everyday a great day to be alive.

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