Eyes Forward

I had a dream the other night. I don’t remember any of it other than I was perusing titles of books, one title caught my eye “Looking Ass Forwards.” When I woke up this is all I could remember. After a long night with very little sleep, I was disturbed to say the least. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep but these three little words kept plaquing me. Why didn’t whoever came up with that stupid title just call it “looking backwards” or “you can’t move forward when you’re looking in the review mirror”? Then it hit me. Those give the impression of a glance over the shoulder, a momentary walk down memory lane. Looking ass forward, however, is a complete facing of the wrong direction. Since we don’t have eyes on our butt, thank God, our ability to see what’s in front of us is seriously impacted if we are turned around to see what’s behind us. We become engulfed in the should have, could have, and would haves. As we continue to walk backwards through life, we can only focus on the moments that have passed versus what’s ahead. As I laid there contemplating my life, I realized that all too often this is the way I’ve done life. Instead of a quick look in the rearview mirror to learn from what’s behind me, I’ve turned my body completely around to focus on the past. I tend to beat myself up and second guess things I’ve done or the cards that have been dealt to me. When walking backwards you tend to stumble and fall or miss the amazing view that lies ahead.

In Hebrews, it refers to Christ as the author and finisher of our faith. I looked up the original word for author and it changed the meaning of this verse for me. Author – one that takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example, the chief leader. It’s kind of hard to play follow the leader if you’re looking ass forwards. He didn’t just pen our story and walk away. He is leading us every day, every moment, every second. Amid all the hard times and good times. It’s an active role. Not just sit back and watch the story unfold. The word finisher means perfector. To use a word my dad likes, He’s constantly tweaking our faith to bring us to perfection in Him. He doesn’t throw us into the fire and walk away because He already knows the end, He’s thrown in with us. As we sit in the fire, He’s working on our faith. In the mountain moments, He’s rejoicing right beside us.

I love the analogy of life being like a book with different chapters and characters woven into it. At times I believe we tend to get stuck, either trying to re-write chapters that were already written or skip through the hard parts to get to the “happily ever after” section. When you’re reading a novel, you can’t just skip a chapter and move on with the rest of the book. You’ll miss crucial information that the author is trying to convey to bring the whole story to its climax. When they reference an event that happened in the skipped chapter, you’ll be lost. Nor can you just stay in the one chapter that you like. You must keep reading and moving through the story. The chapters weave themselves one into the other and blend into the culmination of the story. I wish we could just take parts of our lives and “close the book” and walk away like it never happened. We don’t want there to be failures, heartaches, pain, and loss, but without the hardship the victory isn’t as sweet.

Megan just found out that she’s playing varsity this year on the softball team. She’s been fighting for this for a long time now. As amazing as it would have been for her to make varsity her freshman year, I don’t think it would have had the same meaning to her. She’s had to earn this. Her freshman year was horrible. I wanted her to quit. But this was her dream and she insisted on pushing through. Her end goal was playing varsity and possibly playing at the college level. Because of her goal she was able to persevere. She didn’t spend the last two years focused on how she got the short end of the stick her freshman year, she used it to improve. Had she “closed that chapter” she couldn’t have utilized it to motivate her to practice harder. To study under different coaches, with different teams, try different positions, take advantage of every opportunity she was afforded. Glancing back in my rear-view mirror, I can see how God used the hardship to shape Megan into who she is today. I find myself in awe at how God has taken what I’ve seen as negatives in my kids’ lives and turned them into something beautiful. I can’t wait to see what He has planned.

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