You Can't Move Forward If You Keep Looking Back
Recently, I was listening to an old episode of my favorite podcast, The Friend Zone, with HeyFranHey, Assante and Dustin Ross.
During the episode, the cast briefly discussed the situation when Wendy Williams fainted during her show. Dustin (who takes me out with his jokes EVERY week) goes on to say that she reminded him of the biblical story of Lot when God turned his wife into a pillar of salt (starting at 24:10). When he made that reference, I WAS WEAK (Lord forgive me).
Little did I know that I would be up later that night, unable to sleep, reading my current Bible plan, and what scripture do I run across? Genesis 19:26, “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” The title of the devotional was “Leave the Old Life Behind.”
What started off as a joke actually turned out to be confirmation of something that God has been trying to tell me: DON’T LOOK BACK.
I can be honest and say that one of the main things that holds me back from reaching my full potential and freedom in the Lord is my inability to leave the past in the past. I often get lost in my thoughts - daydreaming about past situations, fun I’ve had in the past, and even people from my past. I tend to get so consumed in reliving my old life that I either miss out on enjoying my present life or I revert back to some of my old ways of living...or both. There have been times when I even backtracked to old friends and guys I used to be involved with that mean me no good, but it just feels right at the time because that’s my comfort zone.
I also struggle with living in past hurt because I’m used to it, so oddly enough, that’s also a part of my comfort zone. I find that it sometimes SEEMS easier to wallow in pain and victimize yourself than it is to release that pain and move forward. It’s harder because release requires work - we have to work on ourselves from deep within and that’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do.
My life since becoming an adult has been a constant cycle of moving forward only to take a few steps back.
Every time I get closer to God, I fall back a little out of fear of where He’s taking me and fear of leaving behind everything that I THINK is good for me. It’s not necessarily intentional, but as a creature of habit, I’m used to pulling away whenever I’m uncomfortable (and walking with God can get extremely uncomfortable). Each time, He shows me that what He has is better than anything that I’ve had, so why is it hard to let go? Well, it’s never easy giving up what you know to go after something that you can’t even see.
My devotional also mentioned Luke 17:32-33 when we’re reminded not to make the same mistake Lot’s wife made: “Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Holding on to the life that we’re used to only stunts our spiritual growth which leads to a life of not being fulfilled. Have you ever met someone who always tells stories about the “good ol’ days” and they seem to be stuck in time? Have you noticed that that person is only happy when they’re reminiscing, but their present life reflects how empty they are?
What God has in store for us is better than anything we’ve ever experienced. It may take awhile to see that; it may also take a few obstacles along the way. But God confirmed that if I just let go and let Him move me forward, I’ll experience FULL life...more life than I could ever imagine. Now, it’s going to take me a little while to get used to letting go and to shift my focus off of my past. But I’m “Godfident” that I can take strides to releasing my past and grabbing hold of my future (sounds cliche, but it’s necessary).
God has been speaking to me a lot lately during the late hours of the night and although I’m extremely exhausted, I’m thankful for this lesson on letting go. Before I end, I want to share a portion of the devotional that touched me the most:
“The basic rule in Biblical personal growth is that the life we lived before we met God is not worth holding on to; we must lose it, grieve it and let go so that he can give us good things. Sometimes our old lives and even some old friends must be mourned and let go so that our hearts can be opened to the new things that God wants for us. The lesson is this: ‘Follow God and be willing to let go of what he asks to let go of.’”