Where do you dwell? Where does your mind linger? Where are you going? Are you looking forward or constantly looking back? Is it regret, or a wonderful memory that you can’t let go? Is it joy or sorrow? Is it fear?
In the book of Luke, chapter 9, Jesus talked about the cost of following Him.
Luke 9:57-62Living Bible (TLB)
57 As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, “I will always follow you no matter where you go.”
58 But Jesus replied, “Remember, I don’t even own a place to lay my head. Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Messiah, have no earthly home at all.”
59 Another time, when he invited a man to come with him and to be his disciple, the man agreed—but wanted to wait until his father’s death.
60 Jesus replied, “Let those without eternal life concern themselves with things like that. Your duty is to come and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God to all the world.”
61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will come, but first let me ask permission of those at home.”
62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
You can’t move forward if you are constantly looking back. This is true of all aspects of our lives, we should hold on to good memories, but we should never dwell in the past. Too often we carry with us luggage packed by people who are no longer with us on our journey. A relationship ends badly and for some reason we continue to drag behind us the over stuffed bag that was packed for us by a person who never wanted us to keep moving forward. If the bag is nice, at the very least empty it at the side of the road and move on, stop dragging it into every new relationship and situation expecting to find someone who can help you carry it. If we are not moving forward we are not moving, because in reality we can’t go back. Not all those things that hold us rooted in the past are bad things, some are such wonderful memories that we are afraid if we move too far from them they will fade, but they will always be there, and you can pull them out once in a while and look at them and let those emotions flow through you and wash over you, but you can’t dwell there.
I loved being a mom of little people, the days or bedtimes spent snuggling up with a good book, (Grandfather Twilight, if you are looking for a great bedtime read), the days spent learning new things, when everything was new, those sights and smells, there is nothing like the smell of a clean baby, or a young child when they cuddle in your arms, those days when I could make a boo-boo go away with mommy magic. I loved those days, and I remember fondly every one of those moments, but I am not that young mommy any more and my children are not those little ones any more, to be sure they are still my babies and always will be, but… for one thing they do not smell the same any more. My children have grown, and I remember each milestone and each year with such a fondness and love, I would not have kept them little, even if I could have, because the path we are on doesn’t work that way. I had one child who seemingly didn’t grow up, even at the end, just days before turning 22 she was still like a baby, but she wasn’t and it would have been a disservice to her and the struggles she had faced to pretend she was.
Where do you dwell? Where are you headed? If you are always looking back, you will not see the future that lies ahead of you. If you hold on to who you once were, you will never become who you should be. We are always changing, we have a whole life ahead, no matter how long that might be, to grow and learn and spread our wings, and if we dwell in the past we rob not just ourselves but the world of who we could be. We each have a calling, and we can answer that call and go out into the world and find out who we are, or we can hold back, wait until we are ready, wait for the next bus, and stay where we are, and one day we will discover that we stayed in the past, because time keeps moving, people keep going, and we may find that time left us behind while we waited.
Are you afraid of tomorrow? It is going to come anyway. Are you afraid of failure? Everyone fails, everyone falters. Are you standing at a cross roads, wondering which path you should take, well, don’t stand too long and don’t assume the wider, more worn path is the right one for you, maybe you can wander a little way down, before going back and choosing the other if you want, but choose one, and see where it leads you. Keep moving, allowing yourself to hold onto the good memories, allowing yourself to pull them out and visit with old friends and loved ones, but then… keep going. We are each one of us called to something greater, we need to be moving forward and growing to get there. Even the bad experiences of our lives are part of the tapestry, even those moments we would rather forget but continue to bring out when our fears and doubts surface, those moments are part of who we are becoming, the trick is to learn from them without dwelling on them, to grow from them and then beyond them. To never stop moving forward and looking forward, because the path is narrow, and you could wander off if you aren’t looking where you are going.
Thank You for this life, thank You for calling me to serve You and Your people. Please keep me mindful on the future, on where I am going, on where You are leading me. Please help me to discern the path You have placed before me, please keep me from wandering too far away, or from standing still too long. Please help me to make a difference, to go forward without dwelling in fear or hanging on to the things I should be letting go. Please remind me of Your will for my life, please keep me surrounded by others who also seek Your truth, not just the ones who yell the loudest or posture the most, but by those who truly seek You, those who truly listen for Your whisper, those who spend their time moving forward and looking for ways to answer Your call. I live in a world that is noisy and chaotic, and it is sometimes difficult to know if I am moving in the right direction, or if I am hearing Your voice over the din, please give me the patience to seek Your will, the courage to leave the pack and find the narrow path and the faith to step out there and keep moving forward.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Lord and Savior, I pray – Amen