My dad’s name is Joseph. Joseph wasn’t apart of my life growing up and I don’t remember much about him.
My dad was a runner, he would run for miles, stop work out, then run some more. People who know him now, say he is still running almost every single day.
I remember this one time my siblings and I were all running with dad, and he told us, “Don’t look back, there isn’t anything behind you, and if you keep looking back you’re gonna fall”. He meant this in the context of don’t look back while running, but those words held so much weight. I didn’t even realize how encouraging those words would become until I was in my thirties.
“Don’t look back, there isn’t anything behind you, and if you keep looking back you’re gonna fall”, or in my own translation “Don’t look back, there isn’t anything behind you worth looking back for, and if you don’t pay attention to what’s in front of you, you will trip and fall back into the same situation God just brought you out of. “ Powerful words hidden in running advice from dad.
As we grow and move forward into our purpose, we often times begin to miss the life we left behind. We miss the people we used to hang with, the places we used to go, or we may even miss a portion of our old selves. Those people, places, and identity were familiar to us and we want to hang onto them. Even if they were unhealthy or unsafe, the fact of knowing what to expect is why we continue to look back while running. Some of us look back so much, that we find ourselves back in those same situations. Kind of like running backwards.
Have you ever heard the saying “Better the devil you know, than the one you don’t”. So many of us live by this saying. So I have a question for you, why would you knowingly live with a devil? Why would you allow yourself to become comfortable in an unsafe or unhealthy situation? Why would you continue to look back and relive those same situations over and over again, causing yourself more and more pain?
I truly believe that we allow ourselves to stay in or go back to those types of situations for the same reason that most people look back when they are running. We already know whats there, we already know whats behind us, and we already know what to expect. Here’s another question though, Why focus on what is behind you, or on situations that you have already lived through, when God has so much better for you? If you stop looking back and you stop going back, and you start focusing on the steps in front of you and where God is taking you, imagine how much peaceful, smoother, and harmonious your run will be. Your strides will become longer and you will “run and not grow weary” (Isaiah 40:31). You will be so focused on what is in front of you that your past mistakes will no longer hold you hostage and you will “…run with perseverance the race marked out for (you)…” (Hebrews 12:1)
Imagine that, a life of peace and joy, simply because you trust God and stop going back to what is holding you back. Focus on the next step, focus on putting one foot in front of the other, focus on God. Don’t look back, don’t relive those situations, don’t allow what you lived through to become a distraction in you taking that next step. Don’t become comfortable with those demons.
Those simple words spoken by my dad so long ago have meant so much to me in my adult life. There is no reason for me to look back or continue to relive what God has already delivered me from. Now I am able to “…rejoice in (my) wonderful new relationship with God …” (Romans 5:11). I am now able to focus on what God has for me and prepare myself to receive his blessings.
“Don’t look back, there isn’t anything behind you, and if you keep looking back you’re gonna fall”. -Dad