Don’t look back ~ You’re not going that way

Jesus will take you to places with Him that are more than you imagined, but they will rarely look like what you had planned. Christian living encouragement for trusting God's timing, seeking God's will. Don't look back, you're not going that way.

God can and will help you move forward. He is not done and what is behind you does not define what is ahead of you. Don’t look back.


{Originally posted: July 4, 2017

Update for August 2018: We’re about to move yet again. That makes a total of five times in seven years.}

 

On this weekend one year ago, we moved AGAIN. It was the fourth time in less than five years.

You see, for the first four decades of life, we lived in Texas. And then my husband made the mistake of announcing one day, “We’re never leaving the Gulf Coast.”

Six months later, we were living in Virginia. Which was all good. I was surrounded by my children. It was still a Southern state. And I even had a cool new job.

But this time last year, the move held nothing but loss. My grown children stayed in Virginia. The baby moved with us only temporarily, as she was headed back for college two months later. We left behind friends and a church home we had worked so hard to find. And I had no clue what I was supposed to do next with my time and my life.

And this. We moved to northern lands where the first words off everyone’s tongue as soon as I opened my mouth were, “Where are you from?”

It all began with letting go

As we caravaned north — knowing it would soon be only my husband Eddie and me and rattling around in the house — I reflected on how our life together began.

It was on this holiday weekend three decades ago, he won my heart with a pickup line I bet you’ve never heard.

For many years before that weekend, however, I had been infatuated with another boy. As teenage girls do, I had planned our wedding and named our kids, even before we ever actually dated. When it was finally obvious that it wasn’t meant to be, I was devasted — also in teenage girl fashion.

On July 4th, my church held their annual homemade ice cream & softball picnic. Eddie didn’t attend my church, but his best friend did. Eddie was standing at the fence by first base hollering at his friend when I arrived. I’m not sure we had even spoken more than “hello” before that night.

After getting my bowl of ice cream, I walked toward the fence, savoring every bite of that homemade vanilla.

When I was about 20 feet away from him, he looked over and smiled — paused — and then said … (Are you ready for this?)

“You’re gonna get fat eating that ice cream.”

See? I told you it was the pickup line of the century!

I’ve learned two things that date back to that night:
1-God hooked me up with a prophet.
2-Some of the best things God has in store come after you leave your own dreams behind.

From that day forward, I never looked back.


Going forward …

There’s an inversion principle in God’s economy:
Release to receive.
Wanna be great? Become the least.
Lose your life to find it.

And then this one …

“… One thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Phil. 3:13-14)

I press on.
Straining forward to what lies ahead.
But before I do, I must FORGET what lies behind.

Forgetting precedes straining.

Every time one of God’s servants in the Bible was called to new heights or new opportunities to know God and be used by Him, they first had to leave. Let go. Forget. Don’t look back.

Going forward almost always involves leaving something behind.

More than you imagined — Rarely what you planned

God is always on the move. And often, he requires the same of us.

But I’m wired (and maybe you are too) to find equilibrium.
I’ve chased “predictable” all my life.
I was always looking to develop a system that would allow for autopilot.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
That’s the goal – or so I thought.
I thought wrong.
As it turns out, “predictable” is an illusion — just like “control.”

My journey through the Bible prior to our move took me to the stories of Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Peter, Nehemiah, and Daniel. Notice a theme? Among the many lessons learned from those servants of God, I saw this message:
God’s people should expect to be moved and be used.

Don’t chase predictable.
Don’t get too comfortable.
This world is not your home.

And here’s the overarching reality:

Jesus will take you to places with Him
that are more than you imagined,

but they will rarely look like
what you had planned.


Don’t look back

What is behind does not define what is ahead

Are you mourning the loss of “how you thought it would be,” saying goodbye to a stage of life, facing the unknown, or struggling to corral people or projects that feel more like herding cats?

Friend, you aren’t alone.
In fact, you’re likely in the majority.

We can savor the time and relationships and opportunities that God provided in the past, but the future must be our focus.

So here’s a question or two:
Is there something behind you it’s time to lay aside?
Is there a weight that keeps you from going forward?
Are you clenching a dream God is convicting you to release to Him?

You can either cling to your dream and smother it to death or release it and let God turn it into more than you can imagine.

I saw God do this with my simple dream 32 years ago. And through the last year of learning to live with an empty nest, searching for a new purpose, and finding a church to call home, I learned to trust him yet again.

Whatever you are facing …
Wherever you are headed …
However life hasn’t quite lined up with your plans …
Remember this:

God can and will help you move forward.
He is not done and what is behind you does not define what is ahead of you.

Before we moved last year, I almost bought a sign I saw at Hobby Lobby that declared, “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” But it would have been just one more thing to pack. I think I’ll go back and see if it’s still there.

We can cling to a dream & smother it to death or release it & let God turn it into more than we imaginedClick To Tweet

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Christi

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Author | Occasional Speaker | Marketing professional ~ · ~ I write and speak so others know they aren't alone and are encouraged to grow in survival-grade faith. ~ · ~ Books: Behold: A Christmas Advent Journey and  Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life

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4 Comments on “Don’t look back ~ You’re not going that way”

  1. Thank you for these beautiful messages. GOD ALMIGHTY KNEW I NEEDED THESE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. MAY THEY BLESS ALL WHO READ THEM. REMEMBER, , YOU ARE THE BEST IN CHRIST JESUS.

  2. What a beautiful message! Thank you for your insightful truth and encouragement, Christi. I lost my son 2 years ago and the ONLY WAY I’ve been able to keep going is to focus on the Cross and know that Gods hand is in everything, leading to His glory!

You have something worth saying!