Sunday, August 24, 2014

Press On

"Brethren, I do not regard myself 
as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do
forgetting what lies behind 
and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 
press on toward the goal 
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13,14

What lies behind can be life altering.  How many of us struggle to forget the past?  How can we forget it when it has shaped and molded us into the person we are today?  The past contains the keys to our thoughts - we dwell on past relationships, past conversations, past scenes, past could we forget what lies behind?  What in the world is Paul talking about?

It's no wonder we are a depressed society. 

Here are two scenarios for your consideration:

1.  You wake up in the morning and your first thought is a reminder of the argument you had with your husband before you fell asleep.  You turn over in bed and he's already up and gone.  Good, you don't have to deal with that.  In the shower, you remember the four things you forgot at Meijer and try to figure out when you're going to have time to pick them up later today.  You can feel a dull headache coming on, but brush it off in lieu of your morning cup of coffee - the caffeine will handle it.  Kids are running late, lunches aren't made yet and for some reason you've run out of hot water before the conditioner is out of your hair.  So much for a good shower.

You finally get the kids ready and off to school and your phone rings.  It's your mother and you just don't have the time to deal with her so you let it go to voice mail.  Her divorce from husband number 3 is still too fresh and you just don't feel like being a sounding board about how terrible all men are.  While you're thinking of it, your husband isn't rating so high either.  

Work is a pressure cooker today.  The new management doesn't like the way things were run in the past and you feel like it might be easier for them to just hire someone new, rather than train the old staff in their new ways.  You miss your old boss - he never worried about your schedule or your priorities - if you got it done, he was happy.  But this new boss has no patience for your personal limitations - he doesn't care that you never went to college and are self-taught. He expects you to be on top of the latest technology and makes it clear that there are many women younger than you who can do this in their sleep.  If only your mom and dad hadn't been so focussed on ruining their marriage, you might have gotten that education that was spent on their divorce instead.  

The after school babysitter just texted you that she's running a fever - now you'll have to call your mom and endure a 20 minute male bashing just to get the kids covered.  You're not going to call your husband because in the past, he's not very cordial the day after fights.  

Things continue to weigh down on you.  You forget the Meijer stop and as you walk in the front door, your son meets you with his cleats in hand - time to head out to soccer and it's your turn for treats.  No one ever considers the working mom when they schedule treats.  You're pretty sure you can drop him off at practice and grab some apples at the store and get back, but the unexpected low fuel light means you're late back to practice and the kids are almost all gone.  Once again you've proven yourself to be the unreliable mom.  But you'd hate to start something new and actually do what was expected of you for once...

Dinner is McDonalds, your husband rolls his eyes, you get the kids in bed and decide not to start the laundry, wipe down the kitchen, clean the bathroom or run the vacuum - all things on your to-do list from last week.  You're too tired, you're too unappreciated and you just want to go to bed.

2.  You wake up in the morning and your first thought is the argument you had with your husband before you fell asleep.  You reach over and he's already gone.  You grab your phone and type a quick text - "Call me when you have a free minute. I love you and hate when I go to bed mad."  You jump in the shower and immediately the praise song from Sunday is in your head. You sing full voice and even though you are apparently the last one to shower this morning because the water has turned cold, you're just glad the rest are up and moving.  You work on your memory verse that is taped to your mirror in the bathroom as you blow dry your hair, thankful for another day.

You whip up lunches and get the kids on the bus as your phone rings.  You chat with mom on the way to work, encouraging her to come to study with you tomorrow night.  When you hang up, you ask the Lord to move her heart to come - she needs a savior so bad and maybe now, after another failed marriage, she'll reach out to God.  You want a front row seat for that transformation!

Work is tense and though you might not be there forever, there are a few gals who need to see Jesus in you.  You run to Meijer at lunch, grab the apples that your son says are not a treat but a fruit, and head back to work.  Your husband calls you and things are headed in a better direction and in the car on the way home, you turn on last Sunday's message by Matt Chandler and grasp at a few minutes of wisdom.  You hit pause, load up the kids and sit in the parking lot at the practice, munching on an apple and finish the sermon.  

Dinner is McDonalds, there's snuggle time before bed and once the kids are tucked away, you spend another 45 minutes getting on top of some cleaning that was neglected over the weekend.  You fall into bed, thanking the Lord for another day, for a faithful husband, for children that keep you running and for the promise that one day you will be with Him in glory.

Which one of these gals is struggling to forget what lies behind?  Which is reaching forward to what lies ahead?  Can you see which one is on the road to depression?  Can you see why what goes on in your head during the day can wear you out?

Our past is a part of our history, but it is not our future - our future is in Christ - made whole, without sin, without struggles, in perfect communion.  We have a future.  We have a hope.  We have so many promises.  We must determine to set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth - when we do this, it will set our focus in the right place and transform our lives rather than dwell on the past which is absolutely unchangeable.

So what will you do?  Hold on to the past or press on to towards the future?

1 comment:

  1. Good one.. positive godly thoughts can only bring on a better day and better relationships.