Looking Past Our Experiences


I guess you could say that I have always been a career girl.  As a teenager/college student I couldn't wait to step out into the "real world" and get that first job.  As I have grown older, I still enjoyed my work and being a part of the working world.  When our children were born, I was incredibly fortunate to work for a manager that felt that being a mommy was our first priority.  She was always supportive of any time I needed to be away with the kids.

About 4 years ago many changes happened in our workplace that caused our workloads to increase, hours to increase, new challenges with little training, increased stress levels and on and on.  We were all placed in positions that made it hard to be as flexible as we had been in the past.  Add all these factors together and it was a rough couple of years.  Rough years that ended with several of my close co-workers/friends being laid off..... including my wonderfully supportive manager.

The year after the lay offs was rough for many reasons -- about the same workload with fewer persons, the loss of dear co-workers, trying to adjust mentally to what I felt was an injustice, and guilt because I was not laid off (this one was especially hard as one close friend that had been laid off was already in a desperate financial position... my family could have handled a lay off much easier than hers).

This last year has been better.  I see us working together better as a team than I have seen in quite a long time.  I'm getting to know my new team members better and finding that many of my pre-conceived notions were incorrect (which is a good thing... I'm sorry to say those pre-conceived notions were not necessarily positive).

Here is where I struggle, though.  We have started a new and very large project that is similar to ones we worked during those difficult, stressful, overworked years.  As I see certain events occur the fear of working those same long hours over again or dealing with the same type of stress rears its ugly head.  Over the last 3 months I have told my husband more than once, "XYZ happened today, I see the forced long work hours coming right at us."

Fact is, when I look clearly and am realistic, I can't be sure that will happen.  We are working better and more efficiently than several years ago.  There are positives.

But, at times, I continue to allow myself to be so bogged down by experiences that happened in the past that I can't always see past them.  When I stop myself and turn it over to God I see the positive changes and see that it just might not happen that way again.  This time just might be different. 

I even have new experiences that show it very well could be different this time.  So far, even though my workload has increased with this project, I have not worked any overtime (with the exception of a business trip last week).  My stress level is almost non-existent at this point.

My point in sharing all of this?  When we look at our past experiences and allow them to control our thoughts and our feelings, we will never find a way out of the fear brought on by our past experiences and/or circumstances.  It will effect the way we think, the way we feel, the way we communicate.  When we turn away from those past experiences/circumstances, when we look to God and allow Him control of our thoughts and our feeling, when we trust Him and have faith in Him, it will all work out.  God's light will outshine all of those past expereinces and all of those circumstances on which we may still be clinging.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:  "The righteous will live by faith."  Romans 1:17


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

If you allow circumstances to affect your service and commitment to Him, then you are walking by feelings and not by faith.  --Anonymous

9 Thoughts Shared:

Beth E. said...

What a great message, Melanie...one I really needed to read!

The past three years have been very difficult at my workplace (even though I work at a church), due to an overzealous chairman on our Staff-Parish Relations Committee. Well, if I'm being totally honest, all of us on the staff have been miserable.

We have a new chairperson as of this year, so I'm praying the next couple of years will be peaceful! ;-)


Tricia said...

This is a wonderful message, one that I think so many of us can relate to! How true that we do not need to let our past experiences dictate how we feel or what we anticipate about a particular thing... I will pray for God to continue to work in your life and your workplace, and that He would make the rough places smooth!


bp said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful message, Melanie. That is an excellent point. I have some things like that in my own life/past experiences that I remember and cause me worry. Thank you for this.

Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing this Melanie. I think the Lord is trying to teach me something since this message has crossed my path several times lately. Our church will be starting a new Bible study in a couple of weeks on this very subject. God is good and patient - thankful for his grace. May you continue to experience the peace of Christ...

christy rose said...

Hi Melanie, This is just a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it. And yes it is so true about the life we live being fearful when we live from past experiences and transferring them into our future. And, circumstances dictate our lives instead of our faith in the Lord. This ministered to me a lot today.

I stopped by from Beth's at Outnumbered 3 to 1. I love meeting new blogging friends. If you are interested, I would love for you to stop by and meet me and my family too. It was nice meeting you,
Christy Rose

Shelby said...

OH Melanie. I'm just reading this today (Wednesday) and you have NO IDEA how this post has ministered to me today. Thank you. Love as always.


LisaShaw said...

Awesome message and thank you for your transparency in it dear friend. Hugs...

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Spoken like a true professional; what is good in the work place, also very good in our spiritual lives. We must remain focused on the "job" that God is currently placing in our hands and asking him for the help we need to do it right and well and just as he would have it. Allowing past experiences to influence our thinking along these lines can be detrimental to future success.

Great teaching, Melanie. Go forth and conquer this week!


eph2810 said...

Melanie - you are so right about this. Sometimes we look at the past and start with fears that might influence our 'performance' - I like to call them the 'what ifs' :)

I am with you in looking to God to see us through the challenging times. As I get older I find myself more often running to Him instead of sitting and feeling despair.

Love & peace,