we can't go back..and that's ok
I bought this bracelet for myself last week. If you know me well, this is probably surprising as I don't usually buy jewelry, especially not for myself (besides, that's what my sister Beth is for!) but once I read the quote printed on this simple gold band, and I just couldn't resist. It's a simple quote written by Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland:
"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."
I have spent far too long trying to go back to yesterday. I've probably wasted years of the present by being fixated on the past. I've spent so many hours thinking, "If I had only done this, things would be (insert more desirable life condition here)"...you know the drill. But guess what? I didn't do that thing, whatever it was. And you know what? I'm ok with that. I am choosing not to let what didn't work out yesterday consume me today.
I remember the incredibly difficult season I was in several years ago, near the end of college and those awful, awkward post-college years, trying to decide where God was leading me and what I should do with my life. There were a lot of closed doors, missed opportunities, and painful moments along the way. My dream job of being a Child Life Specialist didn't end up working out. I lost the random, minimum wage job that I did have. I went back to school to get my masters degree because honestly, I didn't know what else to do. Then I lost my brother. In one day, my very family changed, and our lives have never been the same since.
In fact, when I look back, there is only one thing that has been the same: God.
God has remained, through it all.
Plans have changed. My family has changed. My community has changed. I have changed. So have my goals, dreams, hopes, everything. For the first time basically since I went to college, I now I get out of bed during what grown-ups refer to as "the morning" instead of at noon. (I've even seen some sunrises in my day, kids-if you know me, you know how huge this is!) I have my health insurance and-get this- A RETIREMENT PLAN. Much to my surprise, I didn't end up moving all over the world, being the renegade missionary that I thought I would be when I was 12 years old. I also didn't end up being a Child Life Specialist that I thought I would be when I was 22, nor the teacher that I thought I would be when I was 24 (although I did end up being a teacher). But I'm ok with that. I used to hate change. But now I can see how desperately I needed it. I needed to see that through all the change, God remained faithful. He never stopped working, guiding me, continually placing me around people and in situations that were exactly where I needed to be even though they may not have been where I wanted to be.
So yes, my life has changed drastically over the last few years, but I am so thankful for God's continued grace and guidance. I can honestly say for the first time in probably my entire life that I feel at peace about where I am because I know without a doubt that God has led me here, to THIS place, in THIS moment. My journey here may not have been the path that I would have chosen, but for whatever reason, it's the path that I've been led down and I am thankful for that. I'm not perfect by any means. I am still learning, still making mistakes, and still growing. I think Paul said it best in Philippians 3: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
So here's to living life, today. Yesterday is over, and we can't go back. We are different people now.