Star light, star bright first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight… I wish it was the way it used to be.
Have there been times in your life you would love to go back to? Have you seen better days? Better financial times? Better marital years? Better looking years? Happier times? Ever thought, I just wish I could go back? I have. I’ve sat staring off in space, enjoying the moment of being alone in my own head, while the clock of reality ticked on.
I consider myself to be a young mother. I’m not so full of myself to think that just because I can do laundry in a single bound while cooking dinner and changing a diaper that I have life all figured out. Far from it.
I have three small children. Well, not tiny, but still small. My oldest is eight and the middle is seven. I do have one little one. She's 8 month old. The "big" girls are seventeen months apart and I have almost loved every minute of it. I say almost because I have been duped more than once by the enemy of all who follow Christ, Satan. He’s convinced me that what I have now is not what I really want. I’ve drank his poison of sweet deceit and been drunk on the lie that would tell me that if I could go back I’d be happier.
Don’t get me wrong I love my children and love being a wife, but I can remember days, when I had two babies in diapers, that I would long for “freedom” for what used to be. I used to be able to go and do whatever I wanted when ever I wanted with my daddy’s credit card. (Yes, I have a generous dad who took very good care of me.) I used to be skinner. I used to run around with my friends and live in the dorm. I'd whine in my head about being home with two babies, my husband gone all day and my life being defined by children, diapers, and housework.
Can I be honest with you? Sometimes, though rarely these days, I’ll find myself wishing for the days when they were babies!
But, why do we do this? Why do we wish for something we logically know we can never get back?
I believe there are a couple of reasons.
1. There is a draw to times when we felt really good, and since our reality may not produce the same feelings, we tend to look back to what did and wish for it. It’s funny how we block out all the bad that probably happened within those “perfect” years.
2. This is very important: we have a spiritual enemy who will do anything to get our eyes off of Christ. If one way to get us to not focus on the Now of Jesus is to get us to wish for what is long gone, then he will do it with a vengeance.
Feelings. Powerful, aren’t they? I can remember living on a small farm in Missouri when my first born came. We rented this house on one-hundred acres, twenty minutes from anything. There have been days when, after we moved to the city, that I’ve longed for that old farm. I know it is not what I want now and can’t really imagine going back. None the less, that old farm has a draw for me. But, if I think about it, what I long for are the moments I cherish the most. So why not just cherish them for what they are and then get on with living? Why did I allow myself to be disillusioned with my immediate reality based on a feeling a memory produces?
Paul said in Philippians 3:13 and 14,
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God as called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I’ve used this verse to help me overcome challenges concerning the bad things of my past, but not always for the good things. My draw to what used to be, if it calls me to abandon my reality, must be “forgotten.” Good or bad.
If we are staring off into our past, letting the spirit within us stare off to something we can never bring into reality, then we are missing our present.
In the season when I would literally wish for what used to have on a daily basis I would find myself more depressed than fulfilled. Why? Because th hand of reality would wave in front of my minds eyes, bringing me back, and nothing had changed when I escaped for a few moments. No matter how hard I thought about what I used to have, I still had two little girls in diapers who needed me. Never did my longing for my past cause me to neglect or despise my children, but it left me unfulfilled and restless.
Restless. That’s the word I want you to hear from me. Not depressed or angry about my life, I was just restless. I feel like I’m painting a poor picture of what I actually thought of motherhood. I loved it. Still do, but when I would let the enemy tell me I used to have better days, a restlessness would come up in me that I could not settle.
Maybe you have dealt with this restlessness.
Maybe you are right now.
Maybe your restlessness has turned into depression, anger, or resentment.
If you are a follower of Christ this is no way to live. I had to let God do some refining in my thought life. We had to get some things square. Through fixing my eyes on Him, He said that He is the author and perfecter of my faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
We cannot fix our eyes on what used to be. We must fix our eyes on Jesus who is our reality, our Now. Any longing on what used to be is but a distraction for what should be and what is. Even if what is is difficult, hard, or boring, it is still reality. We can choose to let Jesus fashion a fulfilled life with destiny, or we can choose to rest on memories of the past.
Isaiah 43:18 and 19 says,
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?
To perceive this you must stop looking back and look to Jesus. You will find that he can bring life to your reality if it so needs it. He will take what is real in your life and bring glory to Himself. He is not a passive God. He is active and alive. His Word can come alive in you for this day. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Is there anything you long for or wish for that too often takes you eyes off of your reality?