We’ve all seen the sign that warns of tire damage if you backup. You can move forward and the spikes lay flat. But, backup or go the wrong direct, and your tires are shredded. There’s no turning back when you see this sign. You are forced to “go with the flow” and drive forward.
How many times have I wanted a “do over” during my lifetime? This is especially true after I’ve made a decision and things haven’t gone exactly as planned. My mind goes into overdrive with “what if” and “if only” thoughts. I’m plagued with plans on how to “go back” and “fix it;.” But, truthfully, that’s not an option. Any time spent trying to go back will be wasted and will come at a cost to myself and may to those around me.
“ But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.”Genesis 19:26 MSG
Lot and his family were living Sodom and Gomorrah. Angels visited and instructed Lot to take his family and “run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.” God was saving them from the destruction that was coming. Lot had seen the debauchery. He and his family trusted the Angels and started on their way. But, what if the city wasn’t so bad after all? If only there was one more chance. Lot’s wife couldn’t move forward. She was too caught up in what she was leaving behind. She turned back and the entire family was affected by her decision.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”Philippians 3:12-14 MSG
As a young mother, I remember being overwhelmed. I worked a full time demanding job. We had two young children. My husband and I always seemed to have more month than money. It was easy to wonder: “What if I was single and going out with my co-workers? If only I didn’t have all these responsibilities. Don’t I deserve to be happy and have fun?” It was a tough time in our marriage. Ultimately, I realized that I couldn’t go back and could only move forward with the decisions I had made about my life. And, I’m so glad that I did.
In our world, choosing ME over anything is what we are told to do. I need to find MY happiness. I am the most important person in my life. God wants ME to be happy or He wouldn’t have brought (fill in the blank) into MY life. It’s too easy to find an excuse to abandon what I have for something that “might be”. I become my own worst enemy. I plot and scheme to make God fit into the itinerary I have made for my life. And when that doesn’t work, my first thought is to try again. I’m certain I know best. Sound familiar?
I’ve watched so many families/marriages implode because reality has overtaken the fairy tale. Things aren’t as perfect as we want. Prince Charming’s armor is a little dented & tarnished and those glass slippers really pinch your toes. You begin to look back, to wonder: “Maybe I married too quickly. What if I had waited for the Jack of Hearts to take and interest. He’s really cute.” And before you even recognize what has happened, you’re a pillar of salt. Stuck in the wilderness you thought you wanted. You’ve destroyed your future. You’ve destroyed your family. In an effort to recapture what might have been, you have chosen to backup and have suffered severe “damage your tires.”
What can we learn from this? Is there any hope? I believe there is. While I don’t think any of us “deserve” to be happy, I know that I can “choose” to be happy and content in any circumstance. You see, when I stopped looking at all of the fun that my single friends were having all those years ago, I realized something. They were looking for a life JUST LIKE MINE! Every one of them wanted a home and a family. I must had to stop day-dreaming about what might have been and embrace what really WAS. My reality was a husband that loved me as much as he irritated me. My reality was a son and a daughter that just wanted to spend time with me: quantity over quality. My reality was God always provided for all of our needs. I made the decision to invest in my less than perfect marriage. I began to focus on what I could DO to bring joy to my husband and my children instead of what I thought I was missing. And you know what? The best years of my marriage started right then!
“But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” EEphesians 4:20-24 MSG
You can never go back. Whether good or bad, that is the past. You can only move forward.
“Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.”Luke 17:32-33 MSG