As January rolls on and I focus on being present while seeking God’s presence, I’m excited to introduce you to Sylvia Schroeder this week. We met in an online writer’s group and her words always point me toward a new way and our Savior. I know you’ll enjoy her words on how to look back then step forward with God…
I’ve never been one to jump with two feet into a new year. I don’t even take giant steps boldly into the future. Let me tip toe into it with baby steps, slightly fearful and hopeful not to awaken a giant of bad luck. And, I don’t even believe in luck.
But, as confident as I am of a Sovereign God Who is in control of the minute details of my life, with the beginning of each year I come face to face with my own mortality, even more sobering, with the mortality of those I love with all my heart. What I clench in my tight fists, I must by God’s grace, unleash.
Opening my hands is a challenge. It requires a submitted heart and confirms faith in a trustworthy Savior.
A new season is balanced by a healthy release of the old.
- Look back honestly. Learn from failures, accept them as learning experiences and define the lessons.
- Look back with thanksgiving. It’s easy to be grateful for those shiny good bits, but thanksgiving in the darkest parts requires intentional trust in a Sovereign God.
- Look back with acknowledgement. Who are significant people God placed in your path? How can you demonstrate value and appreciation to them?
The significance of looking back is rewarded by going forward. Paul talked about spiritual progression in his letter to the Philippian church.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14; (NASB).
Writing from a prison, Paul acknowledged that he still had a long way to go in his spiritual and personal growth. His past held good and bad, victories and stumbles, but he pressed forward. His backward look was brief, and his forward focus eternal.
Like Paul, I want to assess accurately, then set my gaze resolutely ahead. I want my steps to follow an unfaltering path to a closer walk with Jesus, my eyes upward on Christ alone and my goals in alignment with His.
Paul knew where he stood in the present. He put behind the past. He reached forward.
“…But one thing I do…” Paul summarized, “…I press on.”
He didn’t have it all together. I don’t either.
Giving God what I cannot see is a step of obedience and faith, but most of all it is an act of submission to the One who is really in control of my past, present and future.
Sylvia Schroeder is a speaker and writer with a passion for family and missions. She married her high school sweetheart and together they served twenty-four years as missionaries in Italy and Germany with Avant Ministries. They live in Kansas City, MO and continue to provide Pastoral Care for missionaries around the globe. Their four children and thirteen grandchildren often wiggle onto her pages. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.