Look Forward and Up, not Back

This is the first day of the new year and I am promising myself to look forward and up, and not back.

I don’t make resolutions, so I don’t think my decision can qualify as such, but it is a decision, a decision which will be very difficult to do, I might add, but it is necessary. I have to look forward and up because if I don’t, I will get stuck in the past.

What I want most of all is for my life and my work to make a difference, even now, though I am not a spring chicken! I still believe that miracles happen, no matter one’s age. I still believe there is talent and are gifts inside me I have yet to birth. I cannot afford to get stuck.

Iyanla Vanzant has said that in order to grow, people have to “do the work.”  She wrote, in her New Year’s message, “Do not be a slave to what “used to be” be open and willing to be do a new thing in a new way.  It about a new level so STEP UP with your head up!”  Moving forward and up means looking in, which is never pleasant, and yet, doing the work needed to keep our focus where it needs to be involves looking in and seeing what is there, not what we wish were there. It is, frankly, a “yucky” exercise, this looking in, but after the yuck comes release from something that has kept us from being our true, authentic and gifted selves.

What I want is, in spite of my weaknesses and foibles, to make a difference for somebody. I can give something, some part of myself, to someone who is struggling, who is sad or lost. I can share what I have and add something to someone else’s life.  I am fairly reclusive, but I can ditch some of that and share what I have been given by God.

As I write this, I am thinking about how many people are struggling on this, the first day of a new year. I am struggling, but my struggle is nothing compared to what others are going through. I have a friend whose son is critically ill; he was in and out of the hospital so many times last month that I wondered how my friend was holding on. Yesterday she called and said he was in the hospital again …on the eve of a New Year. She cried. I cried with her. She said, “I so wanted him NOT to be in the hospital on New Year’s Eve.” I can share some of myself with her.

I have another friend who lost her mother three weeks ago…and her mother last week. I have had a lot of loss in my life. My mother, father and sister have died. As a pastor, I have lost so many people I loved. I can share with my friend, who, at 52, had never lost anyone close.

I think it was Deepak Chopra who wrote that there are no bad experiences; what we call “bad” are really life lessons. And I have learned that we waste good lesson time if we do not study what happened, do the dreaded “look inside” exercise, and learn the lesson or lessons we were supposed to learn. Another friend of mine calls the experiences that come from bad times “blessons.” A blessing and a lesson, rolled into one. Looking at my own struggles as “blessons” helps them to be bearable, and encourages me to get on with my life, to look up and forward …and not back.

My friend with the sick son sits today in a hospital where she sat all night at his bedside. She is afraid to leave. I am sort of afraid to go to her, because I don’t want to see her hurt …and yet, part of looking forward and up is about seeing who’s out there who can use what I have. I have lots of compassion. I can share that.,

I will be writing out my goals, personal and professional, for 2013 later today. Part of the plan is to look up and forward. In everything I do, I will have to make sure those two things are being done. I am going to force myself not to look back. I am going to leave what’s behind …”back there,” take my blessons, put them in a place close to my heart …and move as God directs.

I think people who make a difference in the world must do that sort of thing, don’t you think? I do…

A candid observation …

6 thoughts on “Look Forward and Up, not Back

  1. I think you have a very difficult job for anyone with compassion…but then again I think your job would be very difficult without compassion! Though we all know living in the past cements us from moving in any direction much less forward… a backpack filled is far too heavy of a load to carry along (not sustainable) it stops us dead in our tracts. But I do believe in the importance of a rear view mirror. Sometimes glancing in our mirror as we travel forward ensures our safety as we move forward.

  2. I like the fact that we DO need to look in the rear view mirror…because doing that means we are still moving forward but are just checking to make sure there’s nothing that would hurt us in back of us. I LOVE IT! Thank you for sharing. I hadn’t thought of including that perspective.
    Happy New Year!

  3. As I look back at 2012, I am amazed by the grace and mercy God extended to me. I am thankful for the prayers that were answered. This new year of 2013 will be one of reflection that will lead to revelation. I will replace sorrow for strength.
    The things that I was stuck on will no longer bind me. As I continue the hard and painful self evaluation, I realize how often I allowed self pity, doubt, fear, and lack of forgiveness to dominate my thoughts.
    It will be challenging, but growth is never easy or quick. There are many things I want to accomplish in my life and career….and as I write out my goals, growing closer in my personal relationship with God is priority number 1.
    It has been a long journey….and I can honestly say I am thankful for for the pain because it resulted in a closer walk with God. Your words spoke directly to my heart and spirit..Thank you!

    1. 2012 was a bad year for a lot of people, and yet …it was only a bad chapter in our own books of life, which have many chapters! Thank God that we all got through our own storms. Those of us who got through will have to use the strength we gained from fighting our Goliaths to help others who made it through, but with more wounds and scars than we have. Then, our suffering will have been redemptive, and we would have experienced the mercy and forgiveness in such a way that we have shown our appreciation by sharing it with others.
      Thank you for your comment!

  4. Looking forward with no regrets is a major task for a lot of people. It is truly the most healthy approach to take, unless you are looking back to learn a lesson from a previous experience. But I think that’s a good resolution to have, not just for New Years, but as a constant pledge for your life.

  5. Absolutely a necessity to continually look forward and leave the past behind. There’s not a THING we can do about it but learn from it…and move on.

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