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.
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 Weary - Have 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?