“My interest is in the future, because I’m going to be spending the rest of my life there.” (Charles Kettering) – from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write about Kettering, who was an inventor and a bit of a futurist.
Where do your interests lie? Are you stuck in the past, reminiscing about or lamenting over things that have happened in your past? Some things that we may have experienced are so strong (the word traumatic is often used) that we find it hard to put them behind us and move on. That happens a lot with soldiers who’ve been involved in wars. The term “post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS)” was invented to explain and label this condition. PTSS is a leading cause of suicides among soldiers returning from prolonged or repeated duty in war zones.
In the past there was not a convenient terms to use to describe people suffering from the debilitating effect s of war; so, people often talked of someone being “shell shocked” or used the term “the fog of war” to describe their behavior. However it was described, it was (and is) a condition that does not allow the person to function normally in the present, due to the memories of overwhelming events in their past. People who’ve been through natural catastrophes such as tornadoes or floods may experience a similar impact on their lives. Sometimes the death of a loved one has a similar impact.
I’m sure that psychologists and psychiatrists have lots of ways to both explain and attempt to treat PTSS. Some cases seem to be fairly mild and involve mainly becoming mentally stuck in the era of the events. I know of a few Viet Nam era vets who still walk around in their bush hats and camouflage clothing and love nothing more than talking about where they were “back in the day.” They haven’t been able to let go of that experience and move on.
Perhaps you haven’t been through anything in life as traumatizing as deployment into a war zone; however, we all have had events in our lives that were (at the time anyway) somewhat traumatizing. Those “how can I go on” moments helped shape our lives. For most there was the “ah ha” realization that, as bad as it seemed at the time; it didn’t kill us and we made it through the event. Perhaps the pain was real or maybe just deeply emotional; but we survived and life went on. It is our ability to compartmentalize and rationalize things that happen to us that helps us get through them and go on with life.
For many, it is the ability to turn to their faith to see them through life’s tough moments that makes all of the difference. One of the hallmarks of PTSS is a feeling of loneliness; of thinking that no one understands you and what you’ve been through. It is in those moments of loneliness that one’s faith in God’s assurances can make the most difference.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
You are never alone. God is always right there with you. He got you through the trauma and He is pointing your towards your future. Wouldn’t you rather spend the rest of your life there, in the future, rather than dwelling on the past? Don’t look back. Let go of your past and walk with God into your future.
Where will you spend the rest of your life? Look to God and see your future.