Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Don't Lose Yourself In Looking Back Or Wishing For Tomorrow

Do you have those days where your stuck in the past? It's hard to break free from what if. If we don't allow God to break the chains that bind us from yesteryear our present will be hindered greatly. Sorrow creeps in and steals the joy of today. We will only find an abundance of tears for what could have been

It's a sweet moment to look back at blessings. It gives us great hope for today. In spending time in blessings we can see that God was with us then and what He has done for us in the past He too will do for us in today. But too many times we don't focus on the blessings, but on those moments we wish we could change. If we only hadn't said those words to cut. If we had not moved so quickly in our decision. It's those moments that override any joy God has for us today. Those moments quickly encapsulate us into months and then years of sadness. 

We too can wish today was more like yesterday. This can chain us into not seeing even the smallest blessings. Opportunities and moments of promise are passed by with a fear of the unknown. Some things I have learned over the years are that I am not in control over much in my life. Having my husband laid off for three years taught us valuable lessons about soaking in today. Leaving yesterday behind and embracing what tomorrow holds for us. Living with chronic pain has taught me that I don't have much control over the migraines that hit or the Fibro pain that knocks me back a few steps. But, what I do have control over are my choices. I can make the choice that my pain is not going to define who I am. I can make the choice to change my focus. I may not be able to make plans for tomorrow and stick with them as a migraine may hit me as I am readying to walk out the door, but I can make the choice to not allow it to consume me and steal away the sweet moments He gives me through these distressing times. 

Looking back keeps us from seeing what is truly in front of us. Oh, how we miss out on today by simply living in the past. We too can hold so much hope for the future that we again miss out on all the possibilities of today. 

Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Lot and his family were living in Sodom and they were told to leave as quickly as they could. Abraham was interceding for these cities and God was holding back until Lot was found safe in the mountains. They were told to leave and to not look back. But, that is exactly what Lot's wife chose to do. She was leaving with all of her family. Traveling to a new place that was planned by God to give her a greater today. What exactly did she look back for? Was it something she was missing? Did she fear tomorrow and wonder if Sodom would be a better place? For whatever reason she turned, a pillar of salt is what was left of her. 

"So when morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." Genesis 19:15-17

"But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." Genesis 19:26

Funny thing about the mountains of life. It's from those mountains that we find a greater clarity of yesterday. From the mountain top we are able to see the roads we have traveled in a new way. For me, I am able to see God in my life in the times those valleys seemed as if they wouldn't end. So that brings me to think that although I can see a greater distance from the mountain it was being in the valleys that brought me great lessons of life. God has a way of bringing everything together for us. Of course there are times of uncertainty in our lives. We question everything. We second guess ourselves. We don't understand the times. But through focusing on God and as we continue to move forward, He graces us with peace. I truly think we are to leave yesterday where it is. We cannot change yesterday. Those circumstances are gone forever. What we can do is change our attitude and focus today. We have greater trust in the Lord by giving Him all of yesterday. In doing so we can embrace today fully and wholly. 

"We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned into pillars of longing and regret." Frederick Buechner

Is that what Lot's wife was doing? Was she looking back with longing? Whatever her reasons for looking back, she disobeyed God's calling. It seems He wanted her to keep her eyes on Him and on the steps she was taking today. I am learning the more focused I am on the Lord the more my eyes are opened to what truly matters. 

Yesterday can haunt us into hiding from today. We spend so much time there we miss out on the people in our lives today. Love passes us by. Joy goes unseen. We close the blinds to the light of today and allow the darkness of yesterday to surround us. 

Sure there are moments of yesterday I wish I could change. Oh, if I could only go back and make a different decision. But I can't. There are times I am fearful of what tomorrow holds. Maybe yesterday doesn't bring you great sorrow, but you find comfort in those days and unrest in today. We can get so lost in wanting tomorrow to come that we miss out on today. We wait for better days. We long for easier times. If tomorrow would only come quicker. It's like my mom always told me. "Rob, don't wish your life away." Friends, this isn't living in hope. In reality it isn't living at all. It's those moments that Satan lives for. He wishes for us to focus on fear and distress. He wants us to remain in yesterday's wish list. 

Let us not be withered by yesterday. But might we open our eyes and hearts to this moment right now. God has perfect timing. He has a way of healing yesterday and giving hope for tomorrow when we place our focus on Him today. 

"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." Proverbs 4:23
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