don't look back.

Last week, as the girls and I were leaving the house for a playdate, Abby walked full speed into one of the posts out in the driveway. She did so because she was busy trying to watch something more interesting going on behind her; she plowed into an obstacle that would have been easily avoidable if she'd been paying attention. 

"Abby," I told her, "you can't walk forward and look behind you at the same time! You need to watch what's going on in front of you." 

She was unfazed (mostly) by the incident and we got in the car and had a wonderful afternoon with some good friends of ours. 

I am thankful that God has given me the children He has and that He uses them so often to teach me the lessons He wants me to learn. 

You can't walk forward and look behind you at the same time. You need to watch what's going on in front of you. 

This gentle reminder to my soul came in a timely fashion, as God's lessons usually do. I have been sorely tempted to walk forward while watching over my back these last few weeks, as we quickly approach what would have been my due date had we not miscarried last summer. How easy it is to "look over my shoulder" and daydream about how glorious my life would have been these last 6 months if only I was still expecting! And as I spend my time wondering about the "what if"s and "could have been"s, I miss out on the moments that are making my life glorious right now!! Which moments with my daughters have I missed because I was wishing I had another one on the way? 

You can't walk forward and look behind you at the same time! It is hard to grow spiritually as I'm forgetting the lessons that I learned so many months ago. 

My dear friend, maybe you are in a similar situation. Maybe you keep fuming over a friendship that ended on a sour note years ago. Maybe you are bent on getting your spouse back for a hurtful comment made last week. Maybe you're reminiscing about the "good old days" and wishing you could go back to a time when life's problems were easier to deal with. 

If you are spending your time thinking about the past; if you are watching over your shoulder instead of watching where you're going; if you are content to miss out on the things that are going on around you to focus on things that are not anymore - you are missing out on your life now! 

That's not to say that you can't learn from your past. It would be foolish if we never learned from our mistakes or from our experiences. But God makes it clear in the Bible that He desires us to fix our eyes on what is to come, not on what was. Fix your eyes upon Jesus - who will be coming again! And, as a further admonition, God tells us that Jesus looked to the joy set before Him, and thus was able to endure the shame and the pain of the cross. The apostle Paul exhorts us to run the race with perseverance to the finish. I don't know about you, but I've never attended a race where people are running while watching what's going on behind them. We are to hope in the Lord and in the good plans He has for our future. We are not to look behind us and either long for those good old days nor be angry or unforgiving about the bad events of the past. 

My friend, if you are trying to walk forward but you keep stumbling because you are watching all that went on behind you, let me encourage you today to fix your gaze upon Jesus Christ, who can take all of your hurts and your frustrations and your worries, past and present, and show you the joy that He has set before you. You don't have to clean yourself off before you call out to Him; come as you are. Wounded, dusty, flustered, anxious, doubtful. He does not turn anyone away who is willing to walk forward and seek Him and the life He has so abundantly prepared for you to walk into!


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