Nostalgia is a dirty liar that insists that things were really better than they were”
Sometimes I get hit with huge waves of nostalgia that romanticize the most inconsequential moments or seasons of my life. I’ll go through whole days of sitting in that nostalgia, battling emotional confusion and feeling like I should be dissatisfied with my present.
Nostalgia shoves you back into your past and hands you rose-colored glasses.
Put on those rose-colored glasses with me for a moment…
A year ago, I was living up in the mountains with twenty friends who I considered family. The Sierra National forest was my backyard and Yosemite National Park was only fifteen minutes away from me. One particular night during this season has frequently been coming to my mind lately, the time I dragged my friends outside to play baseball in a thunderstorm.
Yep, we were all crazy and bold and we were so eager to jump into the next crazy and bold adventure. In addition to that, I was having a moment of nostalgia where I was reminiscing on small moments of playing baseball with my dad. With the potent combination of thrill-seeking boldness and relentless nostalgia (and the resulting dissatisfaction with my current reality), I convinced my friends that it was a good idea to go down to the town’s high school and play baseball, even though it was stormy outside.
That little adventure was a beautiful mix of all the things and people I loved.
Take off those rose-colored glasses. Stop sitting in that nostalgia.
If I’m being honest with myself, that moment was great, sure, but it was incredibly underwhelming. None of us could see, we didn’t have enough people for an actual game, and we only had one baseball, which we lost in the dark.
So what’s my point? If you sit in your nostalgia you’ll most likely start to feel incredibly dissatisfied with your present reality, when in reality it’s probably far better than that previous moment. Furthermore you’ll probably try to act on that nostalgia. Nothing you do will meet up to the highly romanticized version of what you’re reminiscing about, and that, in turn, will most likely sabotage your joy in the present moment or season.
If you fixate on fulfilling your nostalgic desires, you’ll miss out on the greater things in your present.
Go ahead and acknowledge your past for what it was. Thank God for everything. Worship about it. Have a laugh. Maybe give a big sigh about it. And then take off the glasses. Look around at the present, which offers so much on its own.
Remember that we don’t ‘peak’ or plateau as far as joy or adventure goes. If we’re aware of our present, we’re able to see more opportunities for good moments, noteworthy adventures, and better relationships.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
We’re promised inner transformation that brings us from one degree of glory to the next higher degree of glory. That transformation is not without fruit and real life application. You’re going to have real, experiential moments that follow God’s flow from glory to glory.
Glory to glory!
My baseball-in-a-thunderstorm story doesn’t end in complete dissatisfaction. There’s a part two which ends way better than my nostalgia-induced escapade ever could; at the end of that night, I found myself CAMPING in the middle of the Sierra National Forest with the ‘baseball team’ and even more of my friends. Some of my housemates found us and invited us to go camping, even though it was already dark and we only had five minutes to grab EVERYTHING we needed. I’m so glad I did that. I could have tried to pull my crappy nostalgic baseball fling together and tried to be satisfied with it, but instead I saw the awesome opportunity that was only possible in THAT particular season of my life. That camping trip was by far the best camping trip of my life… So far.
Danyelle is an ambitious twenty-year-old living in Southern California who wants to see all things turned to the glory of God. She is an aesthete, an academic, and a reckless adventurer.
Danyelle has a history of vocal performance during high school and college. In 2015 she took a hiatus from college to pursue an education in missions.
In 2016, she is refocusing her vocal experience towards worship ministry and is restarting her university studies in pursuit of a law degree with the purpose of aiding foreign missionaries.
See her posts here: Danyelle Madden