It’s so easy for me to look behind me. To look at past experiences and conversations and replay them in my mind, wishing something had gone different, or yearning to relive a special moment. Looking back can be euphoric, but it can also become obsessive and drag me down. I’m sure we all look back and replay regretful situations until the outcome is what we would prefer. I look back with regrets, in not having been brave, in not taking risks. I’ve lived a very comfortable life, a safe life, and I sometimes beat myself up because of it.
In recent months, my looking back has been a reflection of time passing me by. It’s been centered around feelings of being left out, of being left behind, of riding straight through a stage in life where others stop to find love and grow familes. Through this time of moving through my struggles, the Lord has shown me the word ‘forward.’ Move forward. Look forward. Look to Him for life and love. God holds my past, but I don’t have to live there and constantly look back at it. It’s ok to stop and rest and reflect and be, but even if I’m not physically moving forward, I can still LOOK forward.
It’s hard to not turn around. Looking back sometimes warps my view of the past. I remember what I want to remember. I hold on to bliss-filled fuzzy thoughts, with a bit of fairy tale sprinkled in. My memories sometimes become what I want them to be, not what they actually were, and I am comfortable living there. But, when this happens, I stall. I miss reality. I’m not being present. My thoughts are directed inward and I live in a space inside myself.
This concept of not focusing forward happens in many aspects of my life. Conversations that didn’t go the way I wanted them to, situations I would have approached differently, things I held on to and should have let go of. Looking back brings up hard-on-myself feelings of having ‘not done it right’ and thoughts of how I should have approached a situation differently…better. Of course I would have done things differently. Looking back gives me 20/20 vision. I’ve taken the test and now have the answer key right in front of me. I can see where I messed up and what I would do differently next time. That doesn’t mean I have to keep reviewing the ‘right’ answers. That unit is over. The lesson is finished. It’s time to look forward, with new insights and experiences and more tools in my toolbelt than before.
Faith is moving forward even when things don’t make sense, trusting that in hindsight…..everything will become clear.
There’s something about facing forward that directs my eyes to look up and my posture to straighten. I anticipate what’s now and what’s next. Just holding a physical stance of looking up and out brings me optimism and peace. I live in the present and see God’s glorious gifts before me. No regrets. No wishing I could take back what I said…or didn’t say. What I did….or neglected to do. What’s in the past is done. It’s finished, and if need be, it’s been forgiven by our awesome God. I yearn to approach every day with this type of clarity. To carry with me memories of what was, but not turn around and be stuck there. Looking forward helps me live in a stance of ‘now’ and I don’t want to miss it.