Don’t Look Back

Two weeks ago I lost one of my earrings that belongs to my favorite pair.  It was nothing fancy, but it was the perfect earring. Cute and sassy….just like me. 😊 I did not realize until I was already home changing from my work clothes and settling in for the evening. Panic mode was immediately set into action.  I tore up my car, my work bag, the whole house and the clothes I was wearing.  This particular earring is not small and dainty, so how it fell out without me knowing is a mystery in itself.

Now a normal person would toss the lone earring and move on with life. But as you probably already know,  I am far from normal.  No, I placed it back on my earring tree along with my 200 other pair of earrings.  Somewhere in my warped mind, I believed that it would be reunited with its lost mate and that it would be a joyous reunion.  Reality is, my earring is probably gone forever.

Last evening putting away laundry I decided to organize my sock drawer.  I had to laugh when I opened it because inside was not 1, but 6 lone socks without mates.  Each sock laid there folded, lonely, and useless.  Their mates having abandoned them somewhere between the dirty clothes hamper and the dryer. Gone. Never to be seen or worn again. Such a tragic end.

To keep with my theme here, this morning I was in my jewelry box looking for a particular bracelet to wear, when I came across 4 watches that longer worked.  One I had had since high school over 20 years ago. New batteries didn’t work in any of them. They were just kaput.  Dead. Never ticking again. But nevertheless they were stored safely and tenderly in my precious jewelry box.

Of course this got me to asking myself,

“WHY THE CRAP AM I KEEPING CRAP?!?!?!?!”

Not one of the items I am hoarding are useful without their mate or a complete overhaul.  While each one at some point had served a great purpose, all they were doing now was cluttering.  Am I going to be featured on the show Hoarders one day?!?!?!? What is my obsession with keeping items that are virtually useless? Where did the mentality come from that I HAVE to keep useless stuff?

The more I thought on the subject on my way to work, the more I questioned.  What other things am I holding on to that weigh me down or no longer serve a purpose? The answer left me feeling very, very heavy.

Surely I am not the only one who has this problem.  If bet if we peeked into your closet right now we could find a pair of jeans you owned back in the 90’s, a couple of shoes without mates, and somewhere you know you have a phone charger from an old cell phone you got rid of 10 years ago.

Why?

Why do we keep stuff that will never serve us any purpose or practical function? What keeps us from letting go of stuff?

As I pondered on this I realized material “junk” is not all I hold on to. There are situations and people that I cling to for dear life, even though in reality, they are drowning me with the weight they carry.

How much mental baggage from our past do we carry with us each and everyday?

Anger. Mistrust. Hurt. Shame. Regret

All these fill our mental closets, and each day we keep cramming more junk in, not wanting to be reminded of them, but not wanting to let go either.  They clutter our lives, and weigh us down. Sometimes, something new and exciting catches our eyes, but we let it pass us up, because there is no room for it.

So often I cry out to God, “Why isn’t anything happening?!?!?!?!?”

I need not look any further then in His Word for my answer.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 

God has so much in store for me, but if I am holding on to the junk, He can’t do the new thing! I am so quick to throw the blame on God when I feel stuck, but in reality it is me holding myself back because I refuse to let go.

The past is not always a negative weight. It can sometimes help us reflect on where we have been and help keep us on track for the future. But dwelling there and refusing to move forward can keep our heard turned from seeing what lies ahead.

But sometimes God tells us CLEARLY and specifically to not look back. He knows that doing so will draw us back into the same lifestyle, routine, and rut. We are too weak to resist the strength and allure of what is behind.

And sometimes not letting go and looking back can be tragic….. just ask Lot.

Lot was Abraham’s nephew and he and his family lived in a very evil place… Sodom and Gomorrah. The evil had become so vile and extreme that God came to the decision to destroy the whole place. Abraham pleaded with God to spare Lot and his family, and God heard his cries, and sent two angels to Lot with a message to gather his family quickly and flee the city. As soon as they were safely out of the city, one of the angels gave them this warning,

“Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

Genesis 19:17

The temptation was too much for Lot’s wife, and she just couldn’t help herself. She was one step closer to a new beginning, when the longing of what she left behind became too much. She looked back, and immediately became a pillar of salt. Sadly she would never know what great things were laid out for her.

Certainly we can learn from our past mistakes, and God can use past experiences to strengthen us, but when we long more for the things from which He has delivered us, rather than trusting Him to guide us to something better, we are in danger of losing life all together. It may not be a dramatic physical death like Lot’s wife, but spiritually, and emotionally we have no breath left in us.

When we long for our will over His, we are going to chose things that will hold us hostage and weigh us down. We will not have the energy, time, or freedom to move forward.

Am I willing to let go and free myself from the junk and crap that weigh me down?

Am I willing to put my trust in the one who tells me He has great things for me if I just trust Him?

The prize is just ahead. The past is the past. Holding on to clutter and junk is only going to weigh me down and keep me from looking ahead.  Why hold on to junk, when I know that something better is ahead?  Today I chose to let it go, and keep my focus on the future.

So today, I found the long lost earring.  It had fallen in my driveway at home, and been laying out in the elements for a good two weeks. It had been rained on, driven on, and probably tossed around by the neighborhood cats.

It no longer looked appealing, and I am pretty sure if I placed it in my ear I would catch some rare disease that would cause me to have to get my ear amputated.  So I have made the conscious decision to toss it in the trash, along with it’s mate.  I know that somewhere out there, there is another pair that I can rock even better.

Don’t laugh, but I thought I would be emotional.  My earrings went with everything and always looked good. However, I felt almost liberated tossing them.

Good things are ahead friends. Let’s chose today to rid ourselves of all that weighs us down.

Regrets…..toss them.  Failures…..burn them.  Bitterness….rip it up.

Now look ahead……  Step forward…. and Don’t Look Back.

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