There are many things I do not understand. I realize just how much I really don’t understand the older my children get. I do not understand teenage girls…and I’m fairly sure teenage girls don’t understand teenage girls. It’s one of those mysteries I am okay with remaining a mystery…I just pray for endurance to make it through…
I also had a difficult time understanding verses that I think are actually quite important in the Bible. Verses like…”forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”…and “so do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” These bother me. Okay…so a lot of the Bible bothers me – which is good. But, these have been bothering me recently. Why?
Well, let’s take the first one. Why would would I want to forget what lies behind? I know…the past is the past – we can’t change it. But, what about those valuable lessons learned. I don’t know about you, but I learned some of my most important lessons through the big mistakes I made…and I have made more than my fair share. I don’t really want to repeat them, so I need to remember. And then I am leaning in towards what lies ahead. I like that, but I would like to lean in with the lessons I learned so my leaning doesn’t become tripping and I just fall right into what lies ahead…it could be smelly crap ahead. It would be better to lean than to dive head first into that.
And then, there is the not worrying about tomorrow verse. Yep, I get that too. I know I’m not to worry about tomorrow because I can’t do anything about what hasn’t happened yet. But, the part that bothers me is that it says tomorrow will have worries of its own…and that today has trouble. Really? Can’t it say that tomorrow might just be great and today might just be worry and trouble-free? I know…I’m might be missing the point – but it doesn’t mean these don’t bother me. It’s probably because I tend to be anxious about tomorrow and I end up face first in poop as I lean too far.
This week, though, I had a revelation. I won’t say it was divine…although I definitely think that God speaks so loudly if we will only listen. I will just say that God made it a little more clear to my simple mind something about these lessons from the Bible. I decided on Thursday to go run at the Cliffs of the Neuse. It was a beautiful warm January day – so why not? These are rare and I really enjoy the change in scenery. The Cliffs are full of God’s handprint.
As I was shuffling along through the trails, I realized first that I am not a really good trail runner…but, it’s still fun. But most importantly, I learned that I had to keep my eyes constantly right in front of me. If I look ahead down the trail, I will definitely trip and end up face plant right on the trail. Yes…I know from personal experience. If I look behind me, I tend to veer whichever way I am looking. Veering off a one way trail means you end up hitting a tree or worse yet, falling off the trail. No…I haven’t yet had that experience…although I’ve had close calls with the tree (a new definition of a tree hugger). Anyway, I have to keep my eyes right where I am. I can glance around. I can stop and enjoy. But ultimately, to keep moving forward, my eyes have to be right where I am.
And, that is it! I might forget where I have been, but that doesn’t mean the experiences from my past are gone. The lessons continue with me, even when I forget exactly where my feet have stepped. I can glance forward to see what is ahead, but I can’t stay fixated on it…I can’t worry about it. If I do, I end up falling – and then I’ve made it even worse. I have to keep my eyes right where I am…one step at a time…trusting that God is with me…knowing that I am God’s beloved…and understanding that no matter what, it will all be okay.