Looking back is good…sometimes…
It’s the season of reunions.
Family reunions, class reunions…the pictures and invitations are all over social media.
I graduated in a class of 44 people–yes, you read that right.
Out of that 44, some are no longer with us. Some have moved away. Some are in less-than-ideal life situations.
And some just don’t really care about getting together with the people with whom they went to school (most of us were in school together from kindergarten to 12th grade–yep, we literally grew up together).
You see, sometimes it isn’t easy to look back, to reminisce.
Some of us don’t have those wonderful high school memories.
I’m one of those people. I had friends, but I lived my life in such a haze of lies and the pursuit of popularity–well, I’m not sure what kind of friend I actually was. Don’t get me wrong; I did have some fun. I did do some stupid high school stuff. But, on this side of high school, I can’t really say that those years were “the best years of my life.”
Can anyone relate????
So for me, when I think of my high school years, I prefer to remember only parts of them. That first kiss from the guy I thought I would love forever (and didn’t, thankfully). That football game when I wore a cheerleader’s uniform for the first time. The laughter I shared with friends I thought would always be there for me.
Looking back is good…sometimes…
When I think of looking back, the Bible story of Lot’s wife always comes to mind. Remember the story in Genesis 18-19? The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so wicked the Lord was going to destroy them. Abraham pleaded for the cities, and the Lord said that if there were 10 righteous people there, He would not destroy the cities (Genesis 18:32-33). That many were not found, so the Lord sent angels to warn Lot and his family to flee the city. Lot tried to get his future sons-in-law to leave, but they laughed at the old man (Genesis 19:14). Lot hesitated, and the angels grabbed Lot’s hands and forced him and his family to leave. The angels told them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” (v. 17). That sounded pretty straightforward to me! As they were running, Lot’s wife couldn’t stand it. She had to look back–and when she did, she became a pillar of salt (v. 26).
Looking back isn’t always good…
I don’t know why she looked back. I don’t know why she couldn’t be happy with moving ahead. I don’t know why she wanted one last look at the life she was leaving behind.
No wait. I do know.
Sometimes we like to look back and think of times in the past as if those times in the past could be times in our future (did you follow that?). You know–the relationship that didn’t work out suddenly seems like the best one for us. The job we left because we were miserable suddenly seems like the ideal workplace. The one place we promised we’d never return suddenly seems like the most incredible place to be. The situation we really didn’t want to leave, but had to leave, suddenly seems like the only right thing to do.
Just like Lot’s wife, we have to look back.
My friend, I am here to tell you right now, in all love and sincerity, don’t look back! Those “trips down memory lane” are nice, as long as you don’t dwell there. God moved you out of a relationship, out of a job, out of a place, out of a situation, for a reason. Don’t look back and dream of a life that won’t be–or try to make that life happen by re-living old times. While you won’t be turned into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife, the repercussions could be just as harmful.
Start looking ahead, my sweet. We can’t re-live the past–no matter how much we would like to change it, it’s already written. Stop dreaming of what could-have-been and start dreaming of what-might-be. Ask God for wisdom in your daily choices, and start looking forward with anxious anticipation. Stop putting God in your box and let Him rule in your life. When you live with abandon, with full confidence in what God will do, all the things in the past will fade into the background of your life. Those situations will become only colors in your tapestry–not dictators of your present thoughts, but rather memories that pop up every once in a while.
Let me leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:
Let your joyful anticipation of the future dominate your thoughts.
Don’t look back–you don’t live there anymore!
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