What Are You Looking At?
It was still pretty warm outside and I was dressed in my latest and greatest outfit. It wasn’t often this small town girl got a complete new set of clothes. I can still vividly see the blues and greens and yellows of this new set of digs. Not to mention the shoes…perfection!
The bell had already sounded and I had approximately 2 minutes to make it across the street for my next class. It was Home Economics and the last class of the day for me. Which made it even better; no math! Or at least the math I didn’t like.
As I darted out of the door to head across the street, I burst into a full blown run. I did not want to get a tardy slip and listen to how unreasonable it was to take so much time to get to class. Besides, I really liked my teacher and didn’t want to disappoint her.
Just as I hit the middle of the street someone called my name from behind. I quickly turned my head, still in a full sprint, towards the direction of my name. Waved in recognition to their shouts and turned my attention forward just in time to see my foot catch the curb.
It was then that everything slowed down to a crawl as my body began to skid across the sidewalk. It was as if I was trying to glide across a slip-n-slide of concrete! My hands were straight out in front of me and I was holding my head up to keep from kissing the ground!
When my body came to a halt, I realized the tardy bell had sounded and I was left lying in a pool of silence as Mrs. Wilson looked down at my fully extended body. As I tried to apologize, she reached out her hand to help me up. Once we discovered there weren’t any broken bones, we both began laughing hysterically! That is until I realized I had just torn a big hole in the knee of my brand new pair of pants.
I looked at her and the tears began to fall! My new outfit had just suffered a terrible blow because I chose to look back. I’m pretty sure the tears were a part of the fear that had overtaken me once the shock and awe of such an incredible encounter had subsided.
Mrs. Wilson took me by the hand and led me inside. As she sat me down and got me something to drink, she pulled out a robe someone had sewn in class and told me to give her my pants. As I sat in the restroom, she took needle to thread and mended my scuffed up blue slacks. Not only had she given my pants new life, she had allowed me time to recover and refocus and regain the joy in my day.
As I read this simple statement, You can’t move forward when you’re still looking back, this memory flashed through my head. It was a tough reminder of what happens when we look back as we are headed in a forward direction.
I also thought of Lot’s wife who was turned to a pillar of salt because she looked back at a part of her life God had called her out of.
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Then there was the conversation between Jesus and the man who wanted to go back to his family before moving forward with Him.
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord;
but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow
and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
If we are not engaged and living fully where we are, we will find ourselves catching the curb and tearing holes in those precious gifts we have been honored with, or become frozen in the memory of our past and not able to move forward, or even worse; disqualify ourselves from being fit for service in the kingdom of God.
Looking back happens, and sometimes it is good to remember where we have come from. If we are not careful though, we will become stuck in our past. Living out of our failures and hurts instead of pushing towards our future and remaining present in our now.
If I had only stayed focused on the goal of getting to class. Stayed present in the moment of getting across the street and into the building, I would not have had to experience the humiliation of the fall or patch the hole in my pants.
Not looking back, not living in the past, and not making excuses why you can’t follow now, requires a choice. A choice to live fully present, fully engaged and fully alive to the Divine Wisdom who lives within.
Are you looking back at your past and hoping for something different? Turn around and focus on your NOW.