We all had an image in our mind of how life was supposed to be. The road we were meant to take. As teenagers or young adults this road included a great marriage. A happy little (or large) family where everyone is healthy. A road marked with an exciting career or new business. A path filled with great friends, family and happiness.
Maybe some are fortunate enough to have it turn out just like imagined, but for most the road gets bumpy along the way. Let’s face it – even those that appear most ‘successful’ experience a part of their journey to be a little messy. For many, major detours have led us down paths that look very little like we imagined when we started out.
Some detours on life’s journey are a result of the wrong turns they have chosen to take. That road is dark and leads to a far away destination. The U-Turn, away from the wrong path, is made. But the damage is done. Consequences are real. And even though the road we are on now may be so much better, we still grieve over past wrong turns.
Living life staring through the rear view mirror is a hard way to live. The road ‘that could have been’ is far gone. The road ahead of us is what cries out for our attention. Regardless of what lies behind us, the road directly in front of us is the one paved with hope and life. We have to live in the now.
We live life staring in our rear view mirror.
‘What could have been’ robs us of what can be! What would life be like if I never was an addict? What would life look if I never would have divorced? Lost my job? What if I wouldn’t have committed that crime? What could I have become if I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my life on this person or that decision?
Part of finding the way back after failure is dealing with regret and ‘what could have been’ if certain choices were never made. There is good in goodbye for a reason. Let it go. Increase the distance from where you have been to where you are by fixing your eyes straight ahead.
Quit staring in the rear view mirror because the view back there isn’t going to change any. Right in front of you is the life God has blessed you with. Live it – fully –in love with God and those around you.
Constantly thinking about the past and opportunities long gone will cause you to miss what is right in front of you. And if what is right in front of you is not what you like – change it. But don’t get stuck staring in the past.
If you listen close enough, at the sound of every door closing is the faint noise of the opening of a new door. Letting go of what could have been is the only way to start the path towards that open door. For me, the road I am on looks much different now than I imagined when I started out, but it is beautiful and exciting. It is more than I could ever have hoped for in spite of some wrong turns here or there. That is the peace and power of God available to all of us when we turn from the wrong paths, towards God and focus on the life He has given us today.
Philippians 3:13-14 Forgetting what is behind you and looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling you.