Life gets so busy that we sometimes just live day by day trying to get over the next hurdle we make for ourselves. But then there are times that we are forced to stop for a minute and reflect on the past we have left behind. I had just such a moment in the past week and to be truthful I showed emotions that I did not expect.
About 5 years ago I forcibly started pulling myself out of a, then successful, career in the corporate world to try and create a more stable home environment for our family. It took me another 3 years to leave this environment totally behind, but in the last 2 years I have found peace in my new life, I felt happy and I have been able to see some fruit bearing from the decision made. That was until last week when I received a phone call out of the blue from an agency offering me my old life back – Nice career, good salary package, and my independence.
The decision itself was quite easy to make because I knew it wasn’t the right time and situation for our family, but the problem came afterwards when I suddenly started thinking back about my past life. I felt totally depressed for a couple of days reminiscing about the ‘good times’ when I could afford to buy my own clothes, make some important decisions and be someone other than just a mom driving children around and making sure they do all their homework.
Sounds shortsighted right? And yes it is, but trust me I didn’t think so in the beginning. That was until I remembered how Israel went through something very similar during their time in the desert. Travelling through the desert after leaving Egypt it didn’t take them long to forget the oppression that they suffered during their time there. In fact they could only remember the seemingly good times. Exodus 16:3 says it so beautifully:
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (NRSV)
Looking at their current situation, not trusting God to provide, they only saw death ahead of them. And I have to confess that I probably made exactly the same mistake in my thoughts thinking of the ‘seemingly’ good stuff, and forgetting what went with it:
- Long hours where I didn’t see my children and when I did I was too tired and impatient to handle their problems
- At the same time living with a husband that was also working on his career and therefore we had no time to just talk or spend some time together
- Running as fast as I could in my career just to stay ahead of the next competitor
- Absolutely no time for God, to name a few
I realise now that I was looking back at my past in the wrong way.
- Yes, I am not as independent and in control of my life as I was, but I am now learning to be dependant on God and in the end He is the only one that knows what is ultimately good for me.
- I don’t have a career and title anymore, but I have a stable family life for my children and a close relationship with my husband
- A salary is non-existent but we haven’t wanted for one day and God has truly provided our ‘manna’ throughout.
So today, if I have to ask myself the same question: Looking at my past what do I see, I would have to answer:
I see God freeing me from trappings that I have unknowingly created for myself and my family, thinking that it will provide us with happiness. It has given our family a chance to live closer to each other and God, making Him our centre in our daily lives. In fact God has provided and helped us to leave a past behind so that we can have a real future.