It’s been so long!!!
So last week I had an “abandonned” memory come to mind. Even though it’s not one of my finest hours, I’m keen to share it with you. ( go easy please, no judgement) I can’t clearly remember the year but I can remember the day. It was Boxing day… You know, the one that comes directly after probably the most fun celebrated day of the whole year?
I had popped out the the garage early morning because I had run out of some essential. Crazy!? I know!! You would think with all the pre-Christmas shopping we all do that I would have the sense to cover all necessities for the two days of the year the high street actually closed.
Our house was just set off an extremely busy main road. This usually wouldn’t allow me time to reverse park in the drive way, but this being Boxing day the road was a lot less busy, so I decided to reverse into the drive as this made it much easier to exit the driveway the next day.
I pulled up neatly, close to the curb just past the driveway, slipped the gearstick into reverse, flung my arm behind the passenger’s head rest, and turned my head to look out behind me, with one hand guiding the steering wheel. Now I’m not sure if in that moment my brain just fell out my ear with the turn of my head or I blacked out or what, because what follows was nothing short of stoooopid!
So there I was doing my fantastic manoeuvre into the drive, was being super careful to guide the car into the tight space of our driveway, so much so I took all my focus off the front of the car. I bet you can guess what happened next…
While I was being so careful to watch out the back, I forgot to check the front and the front end of the car turned right into the garden fence, like not a wee touch, an big massive welt. Only when I heard the loud scraping noise was I alerted to it. I had completely wrecked the whole front wing of the car.
Like I said, not such a fun memory. But as I cast my mind back to this very silly mistake while I was in the shower the other morning, I felt a little nudge from the Holy Spirit reminding me that all too familiar issue in my life. I put too much focus on looking back at my past and live out of that. MESSAGE RECIEVED. I perked up, God had caught my attention and I was willing to listen and do something about it. I think!
The message was clear, be careful not to keep looking back or it will damage what is in front of you.
A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with someone I’d just met about their story and while there were bits they could describe in detail there was other bits they didn’t and skimmed over. When I pushed a little for more explanation, they simply but kindly said, you know what, I don’t really think of that part of my life because it was the old me and the part before Jesus. That statement impacted me hugely. I thought, wow! God help me do that…
While I think it’s absolutely essential to glance back to see how far we have come once in a while and to share our story for Gods glory, I think sometimes in life we can lose focus and put all our energy into looking out that back window, so much so that we don’t see the damage it is doing to what is in front of us.
The Bible tells us when we accept Christ we become a new creation.
“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 TPT
As much as this can, and does to some extent, involve immediate deliverance and transformation, a lot of it has to be done through a process of allowing God to transform and grow our heart to be more like him.
However, we do need to be open to that transformation process. God is not going to beat and whip you into shape, he is not a bully. He is loving and patient and kind and full of grace. We can’t be willing to be changed and transformed if we constantly have our heads and hearts fixed on what has been and gone.
So today I want to boldly challenge you and myself to this question…
What does your rear view look like?
Is it that promiscuity from your youth that showers you with shame and regret?
Is it that super bad choice made in haste that you haven’t forgiven yourself for?
Is it pain from someone else’s bad choice that leaves you riddled with bitterness and anger?
Is it a specific word or behaviour that evokes a violent/unpredictable reaction in you? Why?
Is it unaddressed pain and unforgiveness that’s eating you up inside? That you haven’t addressed?
Is it neglect, abandonment or rejection that left you with an emptiness and overwhelming need for acceptance?
Is it a dream that you didn’t fulfil that caused you to carry the failure card? And never try again?
Is it a faulty belief system or religious indoctrination that prevents you from getting close to God?
As we go through life we will collect a lot of memories/experiences. This will form character, a belief system, it will forge passions and desires. It will also leave us with regrets/shame/sadness.
We need to remember when we are made new through coming to Christ these things die… Sure we may have to deal with some unavoidable consequences of our past, but God will never allow our past to prevent the plans he has for our future. I believe we are the only ones capable of doing that kind of damage, by spending more time focusing on our past than looking forward to what is in front of us ~ our future.
“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
Ephesians 4:22-23 NLT
Will you join me today in asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate where or who or what event in our lives that currently has us looking out the rear window. Will you boldly pray that God gives you the ability to lay it down and help you to move on, look forward, shift focus.
This process may involve some drastic action, uncomfortable conversations or difficult decisions, but it will be worth it.
And when you do this, share with a friend your ‘face forward plan’, allow your safe person to hold you accountable, delete that contact, erase that search history, block that website, have that difficult conversation. Take whatever action is required to face forward again
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
Ephesians 3:19-20 NLT