My mind often goes back to the Biblical story of the Israelites. I think it's because at any given moment, you may find me actively standing in one of their pairs of shoes.
I might be in the shoe where I am captive, the labor is hard and I'm just hoping and praying that the Lord will see the sweat of my brow and soon rescue me.
I might be in the shoe where God is delivering me, avenging on my behalf and I can clearly see His hand of favor and protection moving in my life.
I might be in the shoe where I have made it to the Promised Land and I'm praising with timbrel and dance when I look back and see how the Lord has brought me over......
Or I might be in the shoe where I'm between captivity and the Promised Land and because I can't see the victory ahead and because the distance seems long or even "impossible" (as if anything is too hard for God), I allow myself to look back at my captivity and romanticize it.
Have you ever been there? Where you've left a toxic relationship but now because you are single MUCH longer than you intended to be, you find yourself looking back and saying, "Well....maybe he wasn't that bad......" or "maybe I gave up too soon....." or "maybe I didn't try hard enough......." or "we really didn't fight THAT much; ALL couples fight everyday......everybody cheats......."
Maybe it was a job that had you so miserable that you left to pursue your dreams or obtain a better position but when that dream seems unreachable or the new job becomes a bit challenging, your mind begins to wonder, "Why did I leave the other place? Was it really that demanding? Did I leave before I was really ready?"
I don't think it's by coincidence that my Bible study group studied Lot's wife last week, right when I began to replay the mental footage in my mind of the "ghosts of relationships past." We are reading "Bad Girls of the Bible" together and right on time; all evening the same theme kept recurring, as each woman gave her testimony or her perspective on the story.
"Don't look back." "God will never ask you to give up more than what He is going to give you in return." "You can't progress forward if you're always looking backward." And my personal favorite, "The only reason you should look back is to see how far you've come."
Side note: that one always gets me because when I look at the total mess I was 10 years ago (following divorce number one)---clingy, broken, insecure, damaged, codependent, bitter, I can't help but praise for how far I have come!! I didn't think I would ever crawl out of that dark abyss of depression or get to a place where I would smile again, let alone love who I see in the mirror and see my value, with or without a man. But look at me now! Thank God!
So then, if I've come so far, what would make me look back in the first place? What would make glamorize these ended relationships that obviously weren't the best for me because...well, if they were, they wouldn't have ended!
Let's be honest, we all have a trigger, something that makes you take that stroll down memory lane before you even realize it's happening. It could be a scent, a song, a phrase, a movie, a holiday, even a certain time of year that makes you pause and reflect on the "one who got away...." Unless we get our hearts in check, that thing will honestly have you saying what the Israelites said (and I paraphrase), "I get that God is taking me to something greater, but I can't see it yet, the journey is taking too long, the process is too hard, and I would have been better off staying where I was." The nerve of us---- to think that we were better off in a situation that had us in emotional bondage, mental bondage, spiritual bondage, broken, second-guessing our worth, hair shedding---you name it! It is often said that the reason the Israelites had to travel through the desert for YEARS on a journey that should have only taken them a few days is because God had to wait until they'd walked out all of that gunk in their hearts, all of that disbelief, all that distorted mindset, all of that distraction. Why would He give them the Promised Land too soon, something their hearts weren't ready to receive or appreciate? What if even in our own cases, God has a Promise-land sized blessing waiting for us but we have a "what you took me from was sho nuff good to me" heart that prolongs that gift? So, it's heart check day! Ready? Set? GO!
Let's take today and really inspect our hearts. Really take a look at your life, your decisions, your cycles, your thoughts. Do you find yourself going in circles? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Do you find yourself leaving doors partly cracked that you KNOW you need to close, so you have a safety net to fall back on?
Can you envision the person you want to be 5 years from now? What does she look like? How does she feel? What is she up to? TODAY and the decisions you make TODAY are a down payment on the woman you want to be in the future.
So, how bout it? Can we close some doors today? Can we stop trolling pages that make us doubt who we are. Better yet, can we stop trolling his page---yes, that's right. Can we unfollow, unfriend, delete and block? Can we stop emotional eating and using retail therapy for a temporary high instead of really getting to the root of our feelings, our triggers and the corresponding solutions. Can we take one, just ONE step today that our future selves will thank us for? Can we gather round our accountability partners, true friends and wise counsel and tell them we are tired of wandering around this mountain and we are ready to break the cycle? Can we allow them to hold us at our word and help us grow from this day forward.
Transparency time----I want to be a good wife someday to a good husband. So, the down payment I'm committing to making on my future for today is to stop filling that void with pseudo joy (food, which gives me such a beautiful bliss, and situationships that I KNOW won't lead me down the aisle (I keep dating the same guy, just a different face and different name but NO MORE(smh)).
What about you? What will you find when you inspect your heart and patterns today? And what are you going to do about it? What "down payment" are you going to make for your future today?
HAPPY HEART CHECK DAY!
And what better day for new beginnings than this one as we celebrate International Women's Day! I'm saluting the woman you are and also the woman you wish to become! From here on out, no looking back; only forward! YOU GOT THIS!