Monday, February 4, 2008

Not living in the "what if's"

I am very slowly travelling through Joel's archived Grace Roots blog. I was recently reading his blog entitled Roots. The statement that caught my attention was when Joel said that he didn't live in the "what if's." I think that's a great way to put it.

We're really free when we don't live in the "what if's." Looking back to the past and staying there will always keep us in bondage. I've found that the only way to move forward is to turn away from the past and look to what's ahead. We all have regrets and wish we could go back and change some of the decisions we made back then but we can't. The past is what it is and it will never be different. When we spend time focused on the "what if's", that leads to regret which leads to frustration which will eventually lead to despondency.

Like everyone else, I've got lots of regrets. There are many things in my past that I wish had been different. I can use up a lot of energy thinking about what could have been but what a waste of time that is.

Approximately 10 years ago, Father started to teach me about grace but, for some reason, I didn't get it so I turned and went in a different direction. It's only been in the last few months that he has brought me back to studying grace and, this time, I'm getting it. It's actually making sense. These past 10 years have not been wasted years because he was building a strong foundation on which he wanted to build. Yet, at times, I've thought about how different my life would be today if I had only understood grace 10 years ago. I would be more established in grace and would be experiencing greater freedom today.

As odd as it may seem, the good things of the past can also hold us back. We can get so busy daydreaming about the good old days that we miss the new thing that Father wants us to experience. Each day has new opportunities to learn and to grow. Good or bad, we need to forget the former things so we can freely move into the new thing Father has for us.

Learning to live in the moment is something I've struggled with in the past but as I'm learning how to focus on the now and not be bond by the past, I've begun to experience greater peace and greater joy. So, I would encourage everyone to not allow the past to hold you back but to go forward excited about experiencing the adventures of the new day.


Joel Brueseke said...

Hi Aida,

Thanks for the link to my post... I re-read it and I was able to change a typo. :)

I like what you say here, about not only our past regrets getting in the way of the now, but how the good things of the past can also be a distraction from the now. From time to time I do have fun reminiscing about various times in my life that I might call the good ol' days, but we definitely cannot live there.

A few years back I was reunited with an old friend, and while it was a tremendous amount of fun to talk about the old days, it really ended up being a distraction as I began to long too much for those days and I did lose focus for a while on the beauty and joy of my present life. Life was so simple back then, you know. :) But the reality is that even though I'm married now and have kids and a job and bills and socks to find matches for ;) and all that stuff (life isn't as "simple"), I don't need to go back to any other time in my life to find peace. Instead I find joy and peace in the present. After all, the God who lives in me is named "I am."

Nicole's Godblog said...


Great Topic!

I love that you always seem to clear things up when it comes to these kinds of topics. It is like I have been thinking about this, but sometimes don't know how to put it in to words!

I think trying to live in the moment doesn't happen over night and is something that we learn and practice. I know for me anyway, I get so caught up in the good ol' days and the what if's and even the looking to the future for comfort, but never really focus on the now, today, this very moment. I get too distracted with everything else that this moment right now means something and it could be big if I only give it the time of day, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for bringing this up!!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Aida said...

Hi Joel,

I guess you turned out to be a good guinea pig after all and my experiment worked. I really appreciate your help figuring out how to do those links.

Reminiscing is good. I believe it's good and healthy to think about the good things Father has done but, like you, I've found that living there can be a major distraction. A while ago, when life really seemed rather ho-hum, I used to spend a lot of time day dreaming about the good old days.

Now, I've found that learning to live in the reality of Christ as my life is so much more exciting than anything the past had to offer.

Hi Nicki,

I've found that you and I are definitely on the same page. I agree with you.

It doesn't happen overnight. Hebrews 5:14 talks about us training ourselves to distinguish good from evil and it happens by practice. When I catch myself going off into dreamland and staying there too long, I have to purposefully bring myself back to the here and now. That's not always easy to do.

I think it helps to remember that Father was in our past and He will be in our future but right now, He's only in our present. So, if I want to be where He is, I have to turn away from the past and spend time with Him in this moment.