Traveling to a funeral, we passed through Dallas during rush hour. I had hoped to get through the city before it got too hectic but missed the window by a small margin. It is amazing how early it starts now. As we were passing through miles of construction it became a lot of start and stop. I have never found myself nervous about driving in traffic, but I was very glad to get through to the other side! The lanes had been narrowed from 4 to 1, the traffic was rising and everyone was in a hurry. I am not a saint when it comes to texting in the car and I knew others were not either. I felt like I had a bobble-head attached to my body because of looking ahead to know when to stop, to the sides to not hit any barrels, and in all the mirror to make sure others were going to stop in time. There were a few times that I was not sure the car behind us was going to stop! I could just see being shoved up the backside of the truck in front of us and then having the gravel/stone/dirt unload on top. One of the times my head bobbled to the rear view mirror, I noticed two smiling faces looking back at me. I realized my anxiety was based out of a protective sense toward those riding along.
We are told in life to never look back except to learn from history, both good and bad. We are to look ahead, forge a path, and focus on the future. There is a balance to all of this looking around. We cannot simply live in the past and allow that to control our future. Our destiny is more than responding to the past. Certainly we can check our past decisions and create a plan to bolster our forward progress. We cannot live life without looking in the rear view, however a steady gaze takes our eyes off the road ahead and accidents do happen. If we only look ahead we might forget what lies behind, or just in the back seat! We can get so enamored with our lives, our goals, our futures, our desires that we leave behind those who love us most. Concentrating only through the windshield does not fully prepare you for reality. What happens when your past catches up with you? What happens if you are hit from behind or side-swiped? Crashes happen because we are not fully paying attention to our surroundings. Safe driving involves a balanced approach to looking ahead and in the mirrors as well as glancing at the gauges periodically in case of something critical happening now. Because of what I saw that day, I am reminded of how we are to livevu. We are to live balanced as well.
We should look back. We should take a look back to see from whence we came to give thanks and honor to our glorious God. We look back to better understand how His plan is coming to fruition. We look back to learn.
We need look around. We should look in our other mirrors and dash gauges. Taking a look at our surroundings helps us understand how to pray. Awareness of our culture and context is invaluable in living a life worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ. We cannot just mindlessly drive through life. We are to take advantage of every situation, every conversation, every experience to fully glorify God. We look around to listen.
We must look ahead. Just like driving, if we never have our eyes on the road how can we ever expect to stay on the road. I believe that we often find ourselves outdated and irrelevant when we never look ahead and map out a path. If we only react tot he past and present without any idea of where we are trying to go we are doomed to repeat the history we are trying to avoid. Reactionary thinking rarely takes into account the view through the windshield. We look ahead to live.
There is no joy in reactionary living. Like the walls around a prison, you find yourself locked inside with no hope. Take a look back and learn. Take a look around and listen. Above all, look ahead so that what you have learned and heard can create a path of life and joy and peace in the hands of God.
Let’s go for a drive!
19 The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped at Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho. 20 Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan, 21 and he said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ 22 you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the •Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. 24 This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always •fear the Lord your God.”