“So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 CJB
Why does it feel like we never get anywhere when we’re trying to make changes in our lives? Probably because we always seem to take 2 steps backward for each step forward.
Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 is a great example of this. She hated living in the country so she persuaded her husband to move to the city of Sodom. After all, her husband was a wealthy man with flocks and herds. His servants could care for the critters and she could live the life of luxury she wanted.
City life wasn’t perfect either, but she overlooked the problems because she had the life she wanted. Until two angels came with a message to leave the city so God could destroy it. Lot’s family would be saved with one condition – don’t look back.
But even though she wanted to live; even though she held her husband’s hand and fled from the coming destruction, the lure of her dream life beckoned to her. All her hopes and dreams were back in the city. Fear of the unknown future and feelings of overwhelming loss stared her in the face. Even as she was pulled forward, she planted her feet in the ground and resisted the forward pull. Then she’d stumble and try to regain her footing, only to resist again. Finally, the forward motion against the grief in her heart hurt too bad. She gave in and actually looked back at what she’d left behind and she lost her life because of it.
Often, we know what God wants for us. We know the right things to do and how to do them. But there is this resistance to our forward movement, pulling us two steps back for every step we struggle to take forward. We stumble and feel like we’re not making any headway. The past may not be perfect, but it feels safe because we know what to expect. And so we eventually give up the forward struggle for change.
Realistically, change will never be a straight line forward. It will be this up and down, back and forward kind of motion. But the key is to make forward progress – to take two steps forward and only one step back to reach our goals:
- Acknowledge the resistance to forward movement in our lives. No, I don’t mean to look back on the past and mourn for it like Lot’s wife. But we do need to recognize the effect of the past on our lives, so we can consciously find ways to push forward against it.
- Be willing fail. In our forward motion to grow and change, we will fail at times. Cultivate an attitude to get up and keep going to say, “OK, that didn’t work, let’s try something new.”
- Set our eyes on the goal. That way, even if we fall down, we’re still pushing forward and will eventually make visible progress. Each time we push forward against the inertia of the backward pull, we’re strengthening our resolve to move forward.
- Most important, hold the hand of the One who can help you make the changes you need to make in your life. That way, even if you resist, he can help you make forward progress.
We’re not alone in this life’s journey. All those who’ve gone before are cheering us on, urging us keep moving forward, to live a victorious life in Christ!
Help me Lord to keep moving forward with my eyes on you until I reach the goal: a life pleasing to you. Amen.