“Those were the best days of my life.”
“The best is yet to come.”
These two phrases signify completely different opinions. Yet which one is right?
While picking up my room, I glanced around at the multitude of pictures coating my walls — the past four years of my life displayed in a timeline of images. From girls’ nights to dates with my boyfriend and a picture of Dutch windmills to signify my time abroad. I sighed. It was over; college is over. My mind began to race with events and moments that I never want to forget and times I wish I could repeat. The creeping words of wisdom I had received around the time of college graduation began to pervade my mind: “Enjoy it while you can.” “College will be the best days of your life.”
I didn’t want to believe what I was told, but knowing how amazing of a college experience I had, I knew it would be life stage hard to match.
Life is different now. I go to work every day and pay bills for rent and college loans. Other things are changing, too. As I continue in my intentional relationship with my boyfriend, I realize sacrifice of selfishness needs to become acts of today and not thoughts for the future. As I make plans and steps in life, it isn’t only going to be about me. I’ve moved around a lot in the past four years and am realizing now that settling down is probably on its way. This excites me but also terrifies me at the same time. I’m a millennial, what can I say.
After looking at all those memories around my room, I was hampered by lingering sadness as I felt I was slowly stepping into this new stage of life full of responsibility and (at least what looks like to be) less fun. I went to bed cherishing memories of late-night bunk chats with my roommates and 3 a.m. trips to Walmart.
God knew exactly what I needed to hear that next morning. As I did my devotions I smiled as God spoke straight to my wandering heart.
In Leroy Eims’ devotional Daily Discipleship he began that day’s message with the following:
One of the greatest hindrances to the people of God is longing for “the good old days.” Why? Because in the midst of a faith journey, whenever we look back and long for the comfort and security of things gone by, we limit God. We see this in Psalm 78 where we read that in the desert the children of Israel “turned back and tempted [tested] God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78:41).
It was truth that I knew but had been choosing to ignore.
Sometimes we become so comfortable where we are that we are afraid to take the next step, especially when that next step is going to include more responsibility.
But this was a beautiful reminder to me and to anyone else out there in my shoes. College is over, and the real world awaits. Yet, thankfully, those weren’t the best days of our lives — the best days can be tomorrow and the next day. God uses every stage of our lives to do His work, and if we entrust every step of our journey to Him, then He will continue to amaze and lead us.
As Israel longed for the days gone by, they should have been anticipating what was to come. This is the same for us. Once we spend too much time lingering and dwelling on the past, we lose our forward motion — our active pursuit of ways to serve Christ in daily living. We grow up for a reason, and through that process God is shaping us for the opportunities that lie ahead.
“When God calls us to move ahead in faith, let us not hang back in fear, clinging to a comfortable memory of the past.” —Leroy Eims