I could hear the steady rhythm of cleats pounding behind me on the cinder track. She was closing in the distance between us, and I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. We were on the last lap of the two mile race, and this was not the first time our strides had fought with one another for a place and a ranking time.
“Just remember, don’t look back!” I rehearsed the words from my coach. He had drilled them into our heads, knowing the penalty for looking back was lost time which could result in forfeiting a winning place. Anxiety was rising, and I was fighting for steady breathing.
Kicking even harder, I tried to lengthen my stride. My body did what it was trained to do, but my mind struggled. The urge to look back was intense. I could see the finish line, and I dug my cleats into the crunching cinder…..
So many years later, this race plays in my mind whenever I am being called outside of my comfort zone, especially when I can’t see the finish line, and I don’t know victory is within my grasp.
Looking back often represents comfort and security for me.
Looking forward means being willing to let go, and letting go means trusting. Ouch!
When transitions enter our lives, we have a choice of either dismissing them by focusing on what we are giving up or embracing them by focusing on what lies ahead.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
Personally, I have done far too much looking back throughout my lifetime. In looking back, I know I have dismissed opportunities and blessings God had for me. By dragging my heels in the past, I have made it difficult for God to give me the very future He has promised me. Are there times in your life when you can recall doing the same?
How can we expect to grow if we are not willing to let go of all that is familiar and comfortable? What if we could really bring ourselves to believe that God does indeed have His best for us? What if the mending of our jagged places can only happen by trusting and moving forward?
The thought of this makes my heart race with excitement, and I hope it does the same for you.
“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18 (NIV)
The struggle lies in training our minds to think differently. Moving forward requires that we be willing to cultivate a new mindset. If we can do this, our spirits will be strengthened with hope, and our bodies will follow. Then, we will find ourselves living in obedience to our calling and ultimately experiencing the joy God has for us.
Sounds like just the kind of race I am ready to run….How about you?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phil. 4:8 (NIV)