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.
Regret can be a powerful thing. It can rob you of your present and your future. It can paralyze your dreams. It can cause you to miss out on the new things that God is trying to do in your life. That is exactly why the enemy tries to put our past mistakes on replay. He knows that we will never move ahead as long as we dwell on them. Everything about this is contrary to the nature of God because He is a progressive, forward-moving God. He is always doing new things and unfolding our future right in front of us. As long as we are looking back, we won’t be able to anticipate what is in front of us.
Throughout my life, I have found myself entangled in the web of regret from time to time. Some regrets were self-induced and others were the result of me allowing others to project their guilt onto me. In either case, I had to fight my way out of it. I had to take my freedom back. I had to reestablish my balance. In my Aqua Fitness class, we do an exercise that consists of movements that alternate causing us to go forward and backward. If I am not careful, I can easily lose my footing. Regret is that same way. If we are trying to forge ahead in life while trying to look back at the same time, we will lose our balance and get off track. The reason why is because we cannot look behind us and in front of us simultaneously. We cannot hone in on our future and actively engage in pursuing it while wallowing in the “I wish I would have” or the “if only I had” of yesterday. I guess this is why God gave us two eyes on the front of our head and feet that point forward and not backward. He intended for us to focus solely on Him and His plan for our lives as He unfolds it.
How can we move past regret? We can move past regret by deciding to move forward and taking the steps needed to follow through. Paul says in Philippians 3:13 that he did not pretend to have it all together. He didn’t have all of the answers or have mastered where he was at that point of his life. Yet, he was sure and determined to keep his eyes on Jesus. He had decided he was going to fix his eyes on the ultimate goal of this life. Paul was committed to seeing the Father at the finish line. He wasn’t going to look back.
Likewise, I am determined to do the same. I have resolved that I am going to put my best foot forward each day and go where God is leading me. I am not going to continue to harp on setbacks, failures, and disappointments. I am not going to spend another second harping on what could have been done differently. God has blessed me with new opportunities to improve my life and placed new people as well as things in my life in this season for me to enjoy. I am going to embrace all that God is doing in my life and I’m not going to let go. I am going to be like Jacob wrestling with the angel and declare “Lord, I’m not letting go until you bless me”. When thinking about Lot’s wife and her disobediently turning around, my heart can relate. Newness can be scary and we are sometimes drawn back to what’s comfortable and familiar. Although the place she was leaving was full of sin, I’m sure that she also had a lot of history there as well. However, whatever she left should have only been a reminder of her past and not a hindrance to her future. I believe that her being warned not to look back was a sign that what was there couldn’t go where God was leading her. Therefore, it cost her the future.
What is God telling you not to look back at? What is He impressing upon your heart to walk away from so He can do something completely new? Listen, friends. We can’t do anything to change the past but we can work towards a better future. This is the power we have in Christ. This is our hope as children of God. We have to let God lead us. When we fail to follow His lead, we are saying that we don’t trust that He is sovereign and knows what is best for His children. If He is moving us in a different direction, it is all for His purpose.
Embrace the journey and the newness it brings. Don’t look back!