The Rear-view Mirror
October 31, 2014 Leave a comment
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NLT)
“No man, having put his hand to the plough . . .—The image which our Lord used was, as usual, one that went home to the personal experience of His hearers. They were of the peasant class, and they knew that the eye of the ploughman if he is to do his work well, must look straight before him at the line of the furrow which he is making. To look back, while working, is to mar the work entirely. The man who so looks is therefore, ipso facto, disqualified for the work of God’s kingdom” (Elliotts Commentary for English Readers).
Interesting analogy that Christ uses when people give excuses as to why they can’t move forward right now.
” Never take up residency in your past. Use it as a reference point and move forward”
Over the past several months, I have repeated this line to myself anytime I would begin to think the past was somewhere I wanted to return to. What is it about the past that we never seem to remember it exactly as it happened? I have been guilty of diminishing the negatives and enhancing the positives on more than one occasion. I am not sure that I am at a point in my life where I am capable of fully expressing the emotions that have provided the tumultuous roller coaster ride for the past 2 years. But, I can be transparent enough to admit that I am guilty of looking in the rear-view mirror and becoming nostalgic.
There are people from our past that we have kept in contact with, who will always be a part of our past, they are a part of our present, and will continue to be a part of our future. These are our true friends and the ones whom we rely on in those moments of weakness who can remind us of what the past was really like. Then there are those new friends who can offer guidance about what we are currently going through. But, my point today is those people who we encountered who were put there either for a reason, a season, or a lesson.
I know, our mind loves to look back on our past relationships with rose colored glasses. But, as I was researching this topic the opening commentary resonated in my very soul. On the surface, what is wrong with looking backwards? But, as the commentary explains, the moment the plowman looks backwards, he immediately begins to waver on the course he is wanting to follow. Interesting. So, I began to explore this concept and try to understand what it is about looking back that can take us of course.
When a farmer is plowing the fields at planting time, the way in which he puts the seeds into the ground will determine the size of the harvest in the future. If he follows a straight line and spaces the rows evenly, he will be able to take full advantage of his field and maximize his yield. However, if he does not pay special attention to each row, they will wind up being unevenly spaced, crooked, or in some way not as uniformed as they should be. When this happens, he will lose out on precious ground and in the end, the harvest will be harder and the yield will be reduced. As the story mentions, looking back makes you “unfit for the Kingdom of God”. Sounds a little harsh doesn’t it? But the point of the scripture is clear when you understand the process of planting and harvesting. It can also be applied to life in that it is always easier to get to your destination when you are using it as a guide post or a lighthouse. The farmer sets his sights on a point at the end of the row and drives the plow straight for that point. But, how can you ever move forward or plant your next row by looking back at where you came from?
In life, if we want to succeed, we have to set our sights on that one point down the road and do all in our power to get there. The same is true in our relationships. We can chose to dwell on past mistakes or past hurts that we have endured or we can look “down the road” for that point and forge ahead. The past is in the past for a reason. If you were meant to be in that place, with that person, or in that situation, why aren’t you there now? The rear-view mirror is for looking backwards and we should be looking forward if we are going to heal. So why do we return to past relationships, even though we know they were bad? Is it because it is familiar? Could it be that we know what to expect and even a bad situation is better than the unknown situation?
I read an interesting article from Sisters of Resistance called How to leave a bad relationship that gives some tips on avoiding going back to the past. But, one thing that stood out was the following statement:
It’s All About Perspective
The end of a bad relationship can easily be the beginning of a new and healthier chapter in your life. It’s an opportunity to grow as a person, get rid of old habits, and develop your own personality and interests. Remember that unhealthy relationships are unhealthy because of the way they limit your perspective – your life becomes all about the other person and how they make you feel. But you can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone else until you really love yourself. Free from a bad partner’s negative influence, a world of possibilities can open up for you. Make peace with the past, and move on.
Perspective. The only clear perspective that you will ever have is when you set your sights on what is ahead and stop looking in the rear-view mirror. What is ahead of you is far better than what is behind you.