Saturday, January 11, 2014
Life is full of good and bad times. It is part of the full experience of life for the good and the bad to joust for our experiences. At times we put all of our hope in something good, just to watch it slowly turn to something bad....and sometimes something worse.
Moving on from our experiences is necessary in order to continue to grow. The purpose of experience (the good and bad of life) is to learn and grow from them, not to dwell on them. If an athlete were to suddenly stop training for an event and begin to reflect on all of the hard times and struggles in which he had to push himself through pain; if he were to continue to do so and never return to his training, what good would come of all of his hard work? In the same light, if a Captain in the army celebrated his promotion and continued to do so but never tried to excel beyond the rank of Captain, what good would it be? He would never reach his potential.
Anyone who has lived long enough could tell you that moving on is not an easy thing to do. Unplanned change is not easy. In my childish mind, I imagine change in the form of a story. There is a beaver who spends a year building an enormous dam with his friends for their families. They develop tunnels on the inside and outside and paths through the woods. They settle and become accustomed to their beautiful new place. One day a storm blows in and it begins to rain. That one day turns into a week. Suddenly the beavers world is flooded and there is no dry land. He watches as everything he worked for is flushed downstream. As the floods reveal the emptiness, he is in despair. He must rebuild.
That is a silly and very simplistic illustration, but the point is just as simple. We can despair about the past and what we have lost, or we can take the things that we have learned and apply them to make our next experiences even better.
These are all nice things, in theory, but how does one begin the painful process of starting new? I read a quote today that said, "Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the Habit. Talk about your Joys." To me, this hits the nail on the head. This is the starting point. So many people live in the past and focus on the negative or what they have lost. They refuse to let go of the things that once defined them; things that now serve as reminders of a different life. With life change, a certain amount of processing must be done. Verbal expression is one way to process, but it is important to do so and move on. Process the past, then re-calibrate your sites (or focus) to a new target and future.
Philippians 3:13-14 shares encouragement from Paul (rephrased), "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." Paul shares with us the way that he gets through his hard times. He looks forward to what Christ has in store for him. The most amazing thing about looking at what God has is that He planned it all out and therefore knows what is ahead. He is like the helicopter pilot in the sky who is guiding the police on a high-speed chase. He can see backed up traffic, dead ends, obstacles in the street, and where the officer needs to go. If the cop decides to do his own thing, well the results will not be the same. If he looks around as he drives through a dark alley and thinks, "this isn't where I should be, I want to go a different way" he is doomed because he cannot see the whole picture. In the same way, God has something planned for our lives, the goal or the target. He has a reason for taking us through the dark times and it is not so that we can stay stuck in them. After the storms are the most beautiful rainbows, but if we keep running back and following the storm, we will miss the blessing of the rainbow.
I want to encourage you all, but this devotion was more for me. God has been teaching me so much and I have so much to learn. This blog is an outlet-something to force me to sort my thoughts and make cohesive conclusions from them. I truly hope it is a blessing.