Looking Back, Moving Forward

*[Thank you, faithful readers! This week marks the third anniversary of the Forward Motion blog. When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure I could create a new post every week for even a year, but I knew I wanted the words to be meaningful and speak to readers. Hopefully, I have, and will continue to, accomplish that goal. If you enjoy reading Forward Motion, please let me know and tell your friends. I’d love to see my subscriber list grow.]

Years ago, a man had car trouble on the way into town. Something happened to his gear shifter and he couldn’t get the car to move forward in drive. His creative, if not dangerous, solution was to put the car in reverse, move to the opposite lane, and with his arm slung across the back of the seat and looking backwards, drive his car in reverse all the way home.

Although he was moving in the same direction as the traffic, his car was facing backwards. You can imagine the chaos this caused. People blew horns, swerved, and pulled to the side of the road. The man made it home, but created a lot of confusion in the process.

Sometimes, forward motion is accomplished only after looking back and resolving issues that confuse your progress and prevent you from moving ahead. Following are a few issues you may need to revisit and resolve to reignite forward motion:

Past Hurts

We all experience times when we were wronged, violated, or deeply hurt. Packing away the hurt and trauma, and not dealing with them, affects your thoughts and actions. Conversely, dwelling on past hurts can inhibit moving ahead with your life.

One of the most challenging parts of moving beyond hurt is deciding to forgive those involved. Failing to forgive is like being shackled to a heavy ball and chain. Instead of punishing your offender, unforgiveness punishes you. Failing to forgive slows, if not halts, forward motion.

Guilt and Regret

Guilt and regret are unhappy twins. They whine and entwine like clinging vines, entangling your thoughts until they bind you into inaction. Guilt screams “you shouldn’t have.” Regret yells “you should have.” Quieting the voices of guilt and regret takes work, but start by acknowledging past mistakes, asking God to forgive you, and then forgiving yourself. Learn from the past, make different choices in the future, but don’t allow guilt and regret to take charge of your life.

Lurking Fears

Fear is probably the greatest deterrent to making decisions and moving on. When what-ifs threaten to sap courage and prevent action, press on, one step at a time. Remember, most of what you fear never happens, so don’t allow fear to hold you captive and don’t feed fear with what-ifs.

Feelings of Inadequacy

All of us experience times when we feel incapable. Even people who appear put together and confident, at some point, have feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes we forget we don’t have to be good at everything. We have gifts, talents, and knowledge in different areas. That makes us unique and individual. Find your areas of strength and continue to develop and utilize them.

When faced with a situation that seems beyond your capabilities, look to God for the wisdom and the confidence you need to accept the challenge. Your inability is an opportunity to ask for, and receive, an infusion of God’s strength and power.

Moving forward is dependent on letting go of issues from the past and catching a glimpse of the benefits that lie ahead. Take time to assess what holds you back, deal with the issues that need attention, map out the necessary action required to generate forward motion, and then place your focus on the future.

“Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put road in deserts, streams in thirsty lands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 CEV

©CandyArrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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