Sunday, September 11, 2011

Move forward.

Most of you can remember what it was like when you first started driving.  You were probably really eager to get out there on your own and go places (like the Winn Dixie parking lot, and then to the Food Lion parking lot -- for hours at a time on a Friday night after the football game, if you were from Madison, haha.)  If you were anything like I was, you were also REALLY paranoid.  Not of yourself (you're the best driver you have ever known, right?) but moreso of those behind you.  When I first started driving, I knew it was important to check your rearview mirrors often.  But I looked into that rearview mirror and paid so much attention to the things behind me that I sometimes couldn't pay very much attention to what was right in front of me.  Kind of scary to think about it now, looking back, how I didn't just run into the things in front of me.  :/

I think sometimes we focus so much on our past, looking in our own internal rearview mirrors, that we prevent ourselves from moving forward and opening our eyes to things right in front of us.  Years ago, I made a promise to God.  I promised to love Him, serve Him, and praise Him no matter what.  As the teenage and young adult years came into view, I made a lot of mistakes.  I did a lot of things that I knew were not right in God's eyes.  I trudged on, carrying a truckload of guilt and sins around with me and never once considered laying them down.  Failed relationships where I compromised more than I ever imagined, I carried them.  Strained relationships with family members that I refused to forgive, I carried them.  Massive amounts of guilt.  I knew all it took was a half step in the other direction and I could lay those burdens down before God and be forgiven.  But I refused.  That doesn't make much sense, right?  Why would we have sins in our past that we refuse to lay down?   I know, I know.

I guess sometimes we feel like some sins are so huge that we can't ever be fully forgiven for them.  Maybe, just maybe, we feel like we have to carry them around, punishing ourselves in our own little torture chambers, constantly reminding us of the horrible things we have done in our past.  But that thinking isn't correct.  In fact, that's the thinking that keeps us chained to our pasts.  If we're stuck in the past, looking constantly in our rearview mirror, there is no hope whatsoever to keep moving forward.  Nothing makes Satan happier than to see us full of despair, hatred, self-loathing, fear and unhappiness.  But that's not what the Lord wants for us.  In fact, we can't even experience what God wants for us when we refuse to let go of what He has already forgiven.

Of course we should look back from time to time.  It's all part of moving forward.  And when we do look back, we need to look back with utmost thankfulness to God.  For me, these last few weeks have been about getting right and turning away from the old things that got in the way between me and God. It's amazing how all you have to do is take just one half step and God meets you right there. When you think you are so far from Him, and He's been right there all along, saying "Finally! I have been waiting for you."

Thank you, God, for bringing me this far.  Thank you for the love that You have shown us through the sacrifice You made to set us free.  Because of Your forgiveness, when I look back, I can do so with hope for the future.  Because of my past, I can serve as a witness to others to show them Your love, faithfulness and forgiveness.  I hope that for all the rest of my days, my eyes will no longer be set permanently upon the rearview mirror.

If you are struggling with letting go of your baggage, rest assured that God wants your junk.  All you have to do is hand it over.

(via Google Images)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

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