A friend of mine has a saying that he uses to keep him grounded: “Remember where you came from.” Whenever he’s under pressure, on the defensive, or at his wit’s end, he reminds himself, and others, of their roots.
This little saying reminds my friend of his early years and the trials and tribulations he’s had to go through to make it in life. It puts things into perspective and challenges him to think back to his humble beginnings. It has undoubtedly helped my friend navigate difficult situations and has been a rallying cry that he uses to challenge others.
But while it’s a great reminder, this little saying also falls short. Our history is only one aspect of who we are and what we are to become. Even more important than our past is who God has made you to be.
I choose a different battle cry: “Remember who you are called to be.” This reminds me to pursue virtue. It challenges me to move forward and strive for something greater than what would come naturally.
By relying too heavily on our past, we can forget the lessons that we have learned and the blessings we’ve received.
The man who’s been blessed with success should not forget that he no longer needs to hoard.
The woman whose parents ran from debt collectors should strive to live within her means and deal with shortfalls head-on with the utmost integrity.
The man who grew up in an alcoholic family should not forget that there is a better way to deal with life’s pain.
Life, especially in times of high stress, is about perspective. It’s important to look back. But it’s also important to look forward. And most especially, to look up.
Remember where you came from and look critically at who you are. But spend most of your time thinking about who you are called to be. Challenge yourself to grow in virtue and become the best possible version of yourself.