I've been thinking a lot about what living a life of purpose looks like, and somewhere between my Bible, honest conversation/prayer and Oprah's magazine I've started to wonder what HAVE I been doing with my life?!?! Don't get me wrong...I love my life. I have a job I am passionate about, friends I admire and depend on, amazing family I actually enjoy being around... and now recently added...an apartment (and roommate) that I adore...yet....YET there seems a longing for more...or maybe it's something missing? Or maybe it's just God's stirring...and like so many times before I've been restless without any clarity of "why".
In reflection of times similar to this, I would normally start to look into language classes, missions trips, new hobbies, something new to medicate the stirring or longing. And well honestly I'm doing that even know...because I do find the value in creating a life worth living...but after all the lessons I've learned...I'm trying my hardest to just sit and listen...sit and WAIT...sit and go through it.
Here's what I find interesting in this season...or phase...or transition...whatever you want to call it. When I feel this restlessness, this stirring...almost like a urning...I WANT IT TO STOP. I'm more likely to try to jump over it, medicate it, at least do something to help it fade somewhat rather then press in and hear God....but even worse then all that...I find I fight reaching back to the past. Past activities, things, people to find some sort of comfort, some sense of security. As though the past (that I've left behind for good reason) is going to help somehow stabilize my feelings and fear enough to move struggle free into the future? I'm tempted because I'm scared that the future won't feel as real as the past? Well....maybe? But mostly it's because i'm concerned the stirring and restlessness isn't authentic and that it's so vague and uncertain that I can't trust it...or rather I don't know if I want to trust it...TRUST that God is moving me into the direction of a new thing...a better thing...something HE has destined for me.
....And then the images start...I think about Peter (2 Peter 2:22) reflecting on Proverbs, "Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud." It kind of makes me laugh...because I can actually see my puppy going back to her yuckiness and thinking..."well it was originally good, right?" Course we think, just picturing it,...gross...disgusting...I feel nauseous...BUT seriously how often do we do that? Reaching back to past relationships, past behaviors, past thinking and beliefs...all the time justifying..."well it worked that one time," or, "it started out as a good thing," or even better, "I'm sure now things are different because I'm different so I can handle it differently." NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm telling myself that as much as I'm shouting that out to the universe.
The WHOLE point of Peter addressing the above proverb was to emphasize the lunacy of that behavior. Course that doesn't make it any easier I know...just because we recognize something as unhealthy, dysfunctional...even crazy making doesn't mean that "old, familiar, and comfortable" aren't just as tempting as they have been before...however, I'd pose this question(s) to both you and me. "What if reaching back is the very reason we aren't moving forward...moving on...actually trusting God?" What if the hurdle of eating our own vomit or going back to the mud hole grosses out our future????
Sure it's comfortable and sure it might give momentary relief, but the old is the old...and many times, in the past, because it served it's purpose but is now no longer useful. Or in my case the past is the past because it was not only NOT good for the direction of my life and heart but caused me to lose focus, lose faith and lose my way. I mean if I reach back,eat my own yuckiness, or wallow in my own comfort level what's the overall cost. The time wasted on my own guilt/conviction! The emotions wasted on ONCE AGAIN learning the lesson! The mental energy wasted once again recovering and processing!
Doesn't seem like vomit's all that worth it.