Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Living in the Rearview Mirror

"Stop dwelling on past events
and brooding over times gone by;
I am doing something new;
it's springing up - can't you see it?
I am making a road in the desert,
rivers in the wasteland."

- Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you know someone who seems to be stuck in the past?  I'm sure you know someone who's there.  Perhaps their high school years were the best of their lives and they are constantly reliving them.  Maybe there was a long-lost love who just won't leave their memory.  Maybe there was a traumatic event that happened that now has them trapped in the trauma and the past or maybe someone wronged them with the same results.  So, do you know someone who fits this description?  Could it even be you?

I've seen it happen to too many people - events of the past (most often very painful events) have taken over their way of thinking which then takes over and effects every area of their lives.  They seem to dwell, or live, in those past events.  This incessant focus on the past then seems to nurture it as they brood over the events as a mother hen would brood over, care for, and nurture her chicks.  It's not a healthy way to live for anyone involved.  As I said, I've seen it happen to many people, including myself.

Over the past five years I have been recovering from a serious stress disorder.  It had gone on for most of my life without being recognized for what it was.  Because of the length that it ran it caused some physical problems including neurological damage.  One aspect of my disorder was that I was stuck in trauma.  My thoughts often rehashed events that happened decades ago.  This focus, this dwelling and brooding, fed the cycle in which I seemed to be trapped. Then I came across these verses and they got me thinking.

I knew that in Romans 12:2 Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  My mind sure did need some renewing!  Coupled with these verses in Isaiah I felt that I had a big piece of the puzzle that I needed to continue in my healing process.  God was doing a new thing for me.  He was bringing order and direction (making a road in the desert) and bringing life (rivers in the wasteland).  But in order for me to continue in this healing and see these new things that God was doing I needed to stop dwelling in the past.  It's sort of like this...

How far do you suppose you'd get if you tried driving a car forward but you were looking only in the rearview mirror.  If you were on a straight road with no pedestrians or other cars you might make it a little way.  But what if you were on a busy, winding road with countless distraction and hazards.  I think most of us would slam on the brakes and just sit there for fear of what might happen.  We would be unable to make any progress or move forward at all because we would only be able to see what had happened and not what was in front of us.  That's no way to drive.  That's no way to live.

God's Word gives us hope and direction.  Let Him help you stop living in the rearview mirror and start living in the freedom of the here and now.

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