Beware Rose-colored Glasses

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A few years ago, Jeff and I got to a place in our lives where we realized life was short, and we wanted to live it fully alive.  We committed to following our hearts wherever they led. As we began to listen, it took honesty, faith, and obedience to trust what our hearts were saying. We took each small step and discovered they brought about huge changes for us. Some of those changes included selling our business of twenty years, selling our dream home, moving to California, starting a new business, and, most of all, choosing to show up each day as who we are committed to being.

We began experiencing life more fully alive, which was amazing! At the same time, we faced new struggles, like discovering that the housing market in California was completely different from what it was in Illinois, the differences in culture, and the pain of being 3000 miles away from our daughter and son-in-law, who married just two weeks before we moved. When we put our eyes on those struggles, it led us to ask, "Why are we here?" In that question, we sometimes became sad and chose a backward focus.

I realize now that we, at times, chose two things that increased our struggle. First, we looked backward with rose-colored glasses. We remembered the past as though, if we went back, everything would still be as it was. We forgot the issues we were facing then which brought us to want something new. Second, we looked at the problems in our new reality as though they were unchangeable, rather than with faith that they were simply our current set of opportunities and could change at any time.

As I think about how we show up when we choose this backward focus, I recognize how much we are like the children of Israel in the Bible. As they sat in the suffering of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, they begged for freedom. Once the freedom came, they faced struggles in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. They seemed to view those new struggles as unchangeable. From that viewpoint, complaining about those struggles became the best choice they saw available. They also looked back at their past with rose-colored glasses, and they longed to go back to the slavery of Egypt. They decided that mistreatment and a life of no possibilities as slaves were better than the unknown or what they were making up about their current reality. In those choices, many wound up missing out on the Promised Land and died in the wilderness.

I used to read that story and think, “What foolish people!” But, I see I have those same tendencies and, given similar circumstances, I will be tempted to make the same choices. (Let me clarify that I don't view my life in Illinois as slavery. However, what I do recognize is I lived nearly forty years of my life trying to please other people and ignoring the voice of my heart. By doing that, I created a prison for myself.) I can easily look back and remember all the good of my past and forget the discomfort and the struggles that were there. I am tempted to make up how grand everything was rather than remember the truth. As I stand in my current reality, I can easily miss the good as I long for past comfort. Or, I might minimize the good and maximize the struggles I see before me.

When I become aware that I am doing either of these things, I commit to three action steps:

  • Assess my past with truth and honesty,

  • Face my current reality with hope and faith, and

  • Trust my heart to lead me to my Beautiful Outcome, my life fully alive.

What are you committed to today as you stand in your current reality and choose your future rather than rosy memories of your past?

Standing with you,

Julia