It was my brother who once gave me some pretty sound advice for a 19-year-old kid. Several years ago, I went through something tough and he texted me and said "Kace, I love you. Where you are right now is where you're supposed to be. Keep breaking tackles."
This short message from a teenage boy, who doesn't usually have much to say, meant the world to me. "Wise beyond his years" is how I recall that moment now. It led me to think about all the times we look forward too far, down too much, and backward into the past. These are three very dangerous directions to peer our heads.
The problem with looking forward:
It is good to be eager and be excited about things! It is good to plan and set yourself up for success. But when we wish for someone else's life or for God to give us something we want, we are rushing Him through the process. We are pushing when he says "Be still." We are anxious to rush the timing of His plan. But we forget He says, "be patient. [His plan] will not be overdue a single day." He promises His timing is perfect yet, we want our own. He didn't forget about us. What He has planned for our lives just hasn't happened yet.
The problem with looking down:
In Matthew 14: 29-31, Peter asks Jesus to allow him to walk on water with Him. But when a gust of wind passes by, Peter becomes afraid. He looks down and starts to sink. He cries out and Jesus reaches out his hand to catch Peter.
“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Why do we doubt? What an amazing question. We obey God yet we find it so hard to TRUST him. If God created the wind and Jesus tells you to walk toward Him and fix your eyes on Him alone, why do we fear? Why do we look down and start to sink?
The problem with looking back:
This one is the scariest and honestly the toughest for me to resist. People always say, "the past is in the past, so leave it there. You can't change it." Gatsby tried to rewrite it. It's not possible. Yet, many of us (and I am guilty of this), find ourselves ruminating over and reminiscing in the past. "If I just would have done this... If I would have been more like this... if I would have said this..."
Nope. Nope. Nope. If we keep looking back, we are going to miss what God has planned for our future. And He promises it will be fulfilling and beautiful. Jeremiah 29:11! As long as we allow ourselves to cling to something that broke us or hurt us, Satan will use it to waste us. I've said this before: I need to learn to leave it at the feet of Jesus and don't look back. We're only cheating ourselves of the joy that awaits us if we keep turning back to see if we missed something. We didn't. That relationship, the job, that person, that situation is over for a reason. You prayed for better. You prayed for amazing and whatever is gone now, wasn't it.
In Genesis 19, Lot's wife, perhaps feeling regret to be leaving Sodom behind and heading into the unknown, cast a last look behind her. When she looks back, she turns to a pillar of salt.
There may be regrets in your past but look back at them no further. Show them the back of your head. They are behind your for a reason and they could not go with you to where God is taking you next.
The only direction we need to be looking is up.
People always say, "chin up" or "keep your head up, kid." It's a positive gesture that represents the notion that everything will be all right if we hold our head high. I believe if we look a little higher and fix our eyes on the One, that is truly when things will start to make sense. Look up to Him for comfort, guidance, motivation, wisdom and peace. There's a peace that comes with knowing the things that are over our head, are still under his feet.
So honor the space between no longer and not yet. Promise yourself that you will try to look back "no longer" and learn to be comfortable with "not yet."
The space in between is where the growth happens. It's where you can experience life again with new mercies coming at you everyday. My brother is right. Where you are right now is where you're supposed to be.
If you feel God is late or that he has forgotten about you, remember he says our walls are ever before him. He has engraved us on the palm of his hand. He's got this! So stay right where you are and just look up!