I was having a conversation with a friend a few days ago and she said something that made me think. She said I keep looking in the rear view mirror! I have thought about this ever since she said that.
I was having one of those days where I felt like things in my job weren’t going fast enough for me. I work for the federal government and have been at my current grade for eight years. A grade is based on the amount of knowledge we know or the responsibilities we are given. We get step increases (raises) while in a grade but for my job, in order to move up a grade, I have to move out to another job that offers the promotion. Currently, my supervisor is working on opening a job that I can move into that will give me that promotion but like always, the federal government moves at an extremely slow pace.
I was feeling this way because I’ve been doing work two grades above me because someone in our office is new to the position and doesn’t know much about the department where we work. Although I like learning new things, I was also getting annoyed that I’ve been waiting and waiting for the promotion that seems to be just out of my reach. Meanwhile, people that began with the federal government around the same time I did or after me, have already moved into higher positions. So I was feeling rather discouraged about my current situation so I went to talk to my boss about how I felt. I have an extremely good boss that cares about my career and where I’m going so she stopped and listened to what I had to say. It was in that conversation that she said I tend to look in the rear view mirror a lot.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since she made that statement and this is what I discovered about looking in the rear view mirror all the time. When I consistently look behind me, obviously I can’t see clearly in front of me and could miss something. A rear view mirror is a very narrow view of what is behind you. It doesn’t allow you to see “the big picture” of your past. It’s like you are looking though a filter and depending on how the rear view mirror is positioned, you can only see that one area of the road behind you. Looking forward out the windshield you can see the whole road and what’s coming up ahead! I think we miss lots of things that God has for us because we keep our eyes in the rear view because we think what we had behind us is better than what is in front or it was more comfortable than where we might need to go.
I think we look back because it’s comfortable and it’s what we know. It doesn’t matter if your past was bad we still look back and long for the familiar but that’s the problem that God has with looking back. Our past can’t be changed and we can get stuck wishing it wasn’t so which creates regret. When we start the journey of being Jesus followers or when we come through a difficult past, we need leave our past behind and press forward. Sometimes that’s hard because all we know is what’s past. God has a plan for out past. He want’s to use our past as part of our future but in order for that to happen, we have to let go of the “weight which so easily besets us” of the comfortable past and push forward to the future and let God take care of the unknown.
God will never steer us the wrong direction.