What Do You See In Your Window?
Imagine you are standing in front of a large picture window. It's early in the morning but still dark outside. The blinds are up. And there's a bright light shining in the room. What do you see when you look at the window?
You see yourself standing in the room. You also see everything else inside the room. Maybe you see dishes piling up on the counter or heaps of paperwork on your desk or clutter everywhere. Maybe you even see trash or discarded papers collecting in a corner. Or if you're a great housekeeper, you see everything in its proper place. Imagine that you can even see the dark blue of the outdoors. But that's it.
Now, imagine the light is turned off. What do you see?
Ah! Everything behind you goes away and you can see outside now. Not just the dark blue you saw before, but now more colors have taken shape.
When the light is on, you see everything reflected in the glass while you look ahead. But when the light it off, everything behind you disappears.
That's how much influence our past has on our future. When you keep that light on, the light of your past, it's always there right behind you affecting how you see the life you're living right now, how you see the future, and how you will choose to make decisions. The baggage comes right along with you. That is the thing that holds you back. Instead of dreaming big dreams, you play it small because your past has taught you how easy it is to fail.
How you choose to see your past dictates what you believe. What you believe about yourself, what you believe about others, what you believe about relationships. And maybe even what you believe about faith and God.
When we allow our pasts to negatively affect how we see our future, we're missing out. What goals or opportunities do we brush aside simply because we believe they couldn't possibly work out?
Think about how different decision-making would be if you turned that light off so you could focus straight ahead.
There is value in remembering our past, remembering all of our failures and every negative thing we've ever learned because those things can help us from making the same mistakes. It's when we appreciate our past and allow it to be a big learning exercise that we allow ourselves to look positively and calmly toward our future.
We never know what lies ahead. But are we looking toward the future with anxiety or with eagerness? Or have we gotten to the point where we don't care anymore? Have we given up all hope and now we're just waiting for that last day? What good are we doing in the present if we've given up all hope? More than likely those negative vibes are rubbing off on other people. And they might have a more dangerous effect on those people than you think. Maybe what you see as simple self-preservation, they take to the extreme and start to believe negative things about it.
We can find comfort in knowing, understanding, and truly appreciating that Jesus died for us. He washed away all of our sins. He invites us to "yoke up" with him; his burden is light. "Come all who are weary and I will give you rest."
We don't have to have it all figured out. All we have to do is let go of our past, let go of that grip we have on it, and start walking into our future with renewed beliefs.
If you are in a mound of debt, start to see yourself free of it or at least making progress with paying it off. Do your best and let God handle the rest. If you are getting yourself right with God, laying everything down at His feet, and letting Him take control of your life, you will see new changes take shape in your life.
When my husband and I first went to Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Frederick, Colorado, five years ago, we were on the verge of divorce. He had asked me a tough question and I didn't know how to answer it. He felt betrayed, that I had lied to him all those years about how I felt about it. The question: Do you believe in God?
During childhood, I had been raised with typical Lutheran beliefs. But I didn't know about the relationship with God. And by the time I was done with college, I wasn't really sure that he even existed. I knew that everything happened for a reason, but I didn't want to accept the possibility that there was a higher power that had control over me. When Harold and I started going to a Lutheran church when we lived in Virginia, I felt like things in life were better when we went to church. But when we didn't go, that's when things started falling apart. At least I had that part figured out.
My experiences with the church, however, left much to be desired. And my time in college did more damage for my barely-existent faith.
So, when Harold questioned me about my belief in God five years ago, I didn't have a good answer. I didn't want to accept that a higher power actually had control. And it felt crazy to believe in something I couldn't actually see. What if everyone was wrong?
We both knew it was time to find a new church. So, knowing Harold would probably hate the contemporary Christian church in Frederick because of the loud music I assumed they had, I suggested we go there. I cannot express to you enough how much that church changed our lives.
Our first time there, the sermon was about marriage. Wow! On the verge of divorce and we hear about marriage. The next week, same thing. Even the third sermon was on marriage. It could not have been timed more perfectly.
It was there at RMCC where we both learned that a godly life includes a relationship with God. And the other thing I realized was that I wasn't in control and that was ok. I didn't need to be. I was able to give up control and let God handle it. I just had to keep showing up and do the work.
God reveals to us things we need to see or hear so we can learn and get out of the mess we've put ourselves in. But are we willing to accept these things as a learning tool to build our faith and improve our lives? He doesn't want to see us fail. He wants us to put our trust in Him and let Him have control so He can restore our beliefs and give us a better life.