Life Lessons Learned on the Road - Don't Look Back

Welcome to a new Tuesday series - Life Lessons Learned on the Road. Each Tuesday I will feature a writer who is also a runner and a life lesson they learned while on the road. It will be a great way for you to meet some new friends and hear the wisdom God planted in their heart through the solitude of running.

But one thing I do: 
Forgetting what is behind 
and straining toward what is ahead, 
I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Some mornings I set out to run 3 miles. I have run three miles so many times that it now seems routine - not always easy but always achievable. Other days a distance of 10 or more miles stretches my ability and my mental attitude.

No matter the distance one thing I've learned is it does me absolutely no good to look back. The ground I've covered whether one mile or ten no longer matters. What's important is what lies ahead. 

Looking back while running is like living a life filled with regret. When our heart is in perpetual rewind replaying events of yesterday, last year or decades ago, our life run is immobilized. There's three reasons it's not wise to run looking back:

1) You'll Stumble - When I'm looking behind I can't watch for potholes, branches or other objects waiting to trip me up on the road. We've all experienced difficulty in our past. What's guaranteed is that we will in the future as well. When our focus is on our history, troubles in the current trip us up.

Don't allow regret to clothesline you.

2) You'll Get Disoriented - Looking back while running makes me dizzy. With my body going one direction and my head another, my tummy rebels. The same is true for our spirit when we allow regret to lounge around in our present day life. 

Don't let regret scribble on the map of your life.

3) You'll Grow WearyHave you ever participated in or witnessed a race? Last Sunday in the Olympics, a field of women set out to run a marathon - 26.2 miles. No one particularly cheered when they reached 3 miles, 10 miles or even 26 miles. The final 0.2 miles were required to have a shot at Olympic gold. 

When I'm constantly looking back, my heart is consumed with covered ground. Freedom lies on the road ahead. 

Don't give regret permission to defeat you.

Paul told us we have to forget what is behind, strain toward what is ahead and press on. I want to sing some Boston "Don't Look Back" to all of us today. Let's stop living our lives in reverse. Stop allowing regret to boss us around and start focusing on the road ahead.

What's your biggest regret in life? How would your life change if you looked forward instead?


  1. Hello Shannon,

    The new header for your site looks nice. Did you go to She Speaks this last month?

    Good job on running. I need to get back into it again now after the move. I miss it, but I've been saving my energy bursts for painting, landscaping and unpacking. Is this silly? :)

    Blessings to you this week,
    Jennifer Dougan

    1. lol, Jennifer. Moving is the hardest work of all in my opinion so no, that's not silly! :)

      I did not get to go to She Speaks but I heard it was amazing! Were you there?

  2. My biggest regret? No college degree. I'm so mad at myself for not getting one. I know it's never too late, but now I feel it's more important to pursue things that are God's purposes rather than my own. I've been through a lot. A degree would make me book smart, but not necessarily life smart. I know continuing to grow in my Christian walk is where my priority needs to be, so I'm prepared for future potholes and stormy weather. Yet still... I look back...

    1. And you're one of the most talented writers I know. So apparently a college degree isn't needed for that... ;)

    2. Wow, Shannon! Thank you for an amazing compliment. :) My bucket is totally overflowing today. {Hugs to you, friend}

  3. Oh, what a great idea for a series =) I look forward to following the stories.

    PS: A friend of mine from college just went on a run from Prague to London on behalf of safe drinking water... now to me, that is awesome!

    1. Okay your friend is majorly impressive!

      So excited you'll be joining me on this journey!

  4. Shannon,
    This is a great idea for a series and very apropos for me since I began walking at least 2 miles a day and have a month under my belt. I'm growing strong and I'm sure that reading your posts will be extremely motivating. I commune with The Big Guy when I'm out on the road. :0)

    1. Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment. I know you're pleased with what you've done and you should be. Keep it up!


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