What’s Still In Your Rear View Mirror?
My husband is very mild mannered. I am thankful for that because I have sure gotten him into some “interesting” situations. BUT… there is one thing that absolutely drives him up the wall: any car riding his bumper. When this happens he constantly checks his rear view mirror and lets me know how frustrated he is at the person driving the car behind us. He has also, on more than one occasion, been known to pull over so the bumper rider can pass. He usually stares straight ahead as they pass, but if they look in their rear view mirror I am sure they become aware of his frustration. It is this type of situation that led to an event I would like to share with you.
My husband and I used to help our home church with an annual family harvest celebration. We would dress up in mid-evil costumes and act as “host and hostess”. Us being us, we always dressed in full regalia. I had my long dress, cape and festive mask – everything period appropriate. My husband always looked regal: princely hat; ruffly shirt; stately coat; and tights – yes even tights! One year while we were on our way to the event, a bumper rider would not get off our tail. My husband had no where to pull over, so he had to put up with this rude, obviously too much in a hurry driver. He was beyond irritated and kept looking in the rear view mirror. Unfortunately, due to his gaze being backward, he did not see the car in front of us slam on its brakes. We hit with enough force to do damage to both vehicles. Though this incident cost us dearly, I could not quit laughing. When my husband got out of the car to apologize and to give the other driver our information, the look on that driver’s face was priceless! All she could do was stare with a confused, rather astonished expression as this man in tights handed her his license and insurance information. She didn’t stop staring until we eventually drove out of sight. When my husband got back in the car I tried not to laugh, but you can imagine how well that worked out. Again, I am so thankful I have a mild mannered husband.
Just so you know, there really is a reason I shared that story with you – not just to give my hubby a hard time. Where am I looking: spiritually? emotionally? relationally? Am I looking forward or spending my time with my face in the rear view mirror. How much time do I spend dwelling on the woulda’s, coulda’s, and shoulda’s? How much emotional energy is lost by rehashing negative events from the past? Or, how often do I pat myself on the back for certain spiritual “feats” that happened way back when – using what I used to do to as a justify-er for my lack of service now. I tell myself, “its someone else’s turn – after all, I have already paid my dues, don’t ya know!” Well, just like with our car, if we continue to look in the rear view mirror of life, we too will crash! Now, you may be saying that couldn’t happen to you, but let me tell you – there is a reason rear view mirrors come with warnings: “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” If we keep dwelling on the “past”, the influence of the past gets closer to us than we think. Before we know it, the “past” becomes our present! Old attitudes begin to pop up. Behaviors that we thought were dead and gone are now resurrected – often with a vengeance! And the good news is, the pain and drama can all be avoided! The bad news is, sometimes we don’t want to avoid it, and only we can make that choice!
Scripture is clear….
- If we are bogged down by guilt and shame – remember, Christ paid the price. We are new creatures in Him and the past is history. I love that old quote: “Christ put my sins in the sea of forgetfulness and Devil, He also put up a no fishin’ sign!” If that’s the case, I need to put away my fishing pole as well!
- Having struggles forgiving, the Lord will help if that is our desire. He instructs us that we are to forgive as we were forgiven and He would never tell us to do that if it was something impossible for us. With Christ ALL things are possible! He encourages us by letting us know that we can do all things through Him – this includes forgiving.
- On this last point, I want to ask a question: Can you show me one scripture that says its okay to stop doing what God has called us to do? Yes, we go through many seasons, seasons where our lives and focus change. BUT, in every season we have opportunity to do service for our Lord. I believe the day the Lord wants me to sit on my haunches will be the day He takes me home! I don’t have a clue how many twists and turns my life may take, but one thing is for sure, God’s marching orders never change: “Go ye, into ALL the world and preach the gospel.” I may preach it from a pulpit; a computer post; a bag of food for the homeless; a kind word for a shut in; or maybe by just holding the hand of one who is hurting. No matter how Christ leads my life, I am never to stop “preaching”. I love what Mother Theresa said: “Everyday, preach the Gospel – sometimes even use words!”
When we spend our lives in the rear view mirror, we WILL crash; and just like I laughed at the situation with my hubby, Satan will laugh at every spiritual,emotional, or relational fender bender. I think instead, I want to spend my time looking forward toward the prize, having my gaze permanently fixed on Christ, the Author and Finisher of my faith!