Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mamie Tries Looking Back and Going Forward

Heading out this morning, I called out, "Who wants to go to the greenhouse?" Wonder Dogs love GO, so of course both dogs were up for the walk. Mamie was following my every step, so she was first in line. Maggie was in the kitchen eating breakfast. Mamie, Apprentice Wonder Puppy, is only ten months old. She is excited about everything!! She is also crazy about her adopted big sister Maggie the Wonder Dog. This created a big dilemma for little Mamie. She wanted to go, but wanted to be sure Maggie was coming. 

What happened next was the craziest. I have never seen this happen to a dog in my entire life. Mamie probably wishes I would keep it to myself. It was that ... I don't know what to call it. Pitiful? Sad? Funny? Mamie decided to run for the door because she wanted to be first out the door. She always runs. She also wanted to be sure about Maggie and see what she was doing, so Mamie made a not-very-smart decision. This is why she is still an Apprentice Wonder Puppy and not a Wonder dog yet. Mamie decided to run as fast as she could, while at the same time she was looking backward at Maggie. You can probably guess what happened. WHAM!!  Mamie ran, wide open and looking backward, into the door frame. There was a terrible thud and the impact stopped her in her tracks. She was shocked! It was not entirely clear why I got blamed for what Mamie had done all by herself, but she shook her head a little, sat down, and gave me a withering look. Needless to say, that door frame encounter  stopped her looking back for a little while. 

(Lest you worry about little Mamie, get distracted, and miss the point of the story) let me assure you that she is fine and still running wide open.)

As soon as Mamie whammed into the door frame, I thought, "Its really hard to move forward when you are looking back." (I see every event, interaction, and conversation in terms of a story and a lesson, and have for decades. It's a little strange but makes writing much easier). Back to the thoughts. It really is hard to go forward when you are looking back, as anyone with regret can confirm. I don't know about you, but I can always think of something I should have said in a better way, some better action I could have taken, a better decision I could have made. I could easily be overwhelmed with the "what it's" and the "I should have's" and second-guess myself forever. Maybe you know something about second-guessing. It can plague you relentlessly. 

It turns out that the Apostle Paul knew about regret, too, having been an awful terrorist. He wrote about it in a letter to the Philippian church. "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 NASB) In other words, quit looking back and focus your attention on doing what God has called you to do! That's good advice for those with regrets and for those who second guess themselves. Stop. Just stop and refocus. 

It sounds easy, and it is. How? There's a clue in that verse above. Paul could not look back because he had his attention and his eyes focused on the call of God. He was looking to Jesus, and when you have Jesus in your sights, He is all that matters. 

Are you struggling? Has your looking back, like little Mamie, caused you to run right into a roadblock that has not only stopped you but caused you pain? Take your eyes off the past. Take your eyes off yourself. Fix them on Jesus and leave them there as you pursue that to which He has called you. Stop looking at the pain of the past and start looking toward eternity. One day, all those regrets will not matter a bit. Why not let them go now? 
Press on, and don't look back.