January 1, 2013, I decided that my one word for this year would be “Forward” and I shared this picture last week.
I can live in the past sometimes. I can start to define who I am by my past mistakes. I decided FORWARD would be good because I’m not defined by my mistakes. Right? I’m defined by God. He doesn’t see me as a failure…even if I feel like I am. We are all failures if we’re honest.
This social media world can really make me feel like a big failure…especially if I start to compare myself with everyone’s highlighted reel. Because really the stats, the pictures, the pins, the tweets are all the highlighted reels of everyone lives.
Steven Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
I didn’t finish college. I dropped out after my 2nd year. Fear, for the most part, is why I didn’t finish. I let fear overtake me and thought that I couldn’t handle it. I got in with the wrong crowd and was just a scared young girl. So I dropped out because I didn’t think I could recover from my mistakes there and I went home… because I felt safe there.
I could focus on dropping out and think of myself as a failure…or…I could focus on the fact that by leaving college it led me to Blacksburg, VA…to my husband. It led me to nursing school (something I was good at!). It led me to my two beautiful children…to teaching yoga….to truly finding JESUS…to my photography and to being thankful and grateful for everything in my life today. That is falling forward.
“Jesus’ grace is the one-way love that gets you back to Joy.” ~Ann Voskamp
Focusing on what I don’t like about my past or focusing on my mistakes means I am lost. Lost in the present and stuck in the past---it means I have taken my eyes off of Jesus! Don’t get me wrong…we can learn from our past mistakes but to sulk in them and start to define ourselves as a hot mess then it becomes a problem. Sheila Walsh says, “What should have happened, did.” So I pause…breathe…and give thanks. I remember to move forward with Him…because that is where the joy is! God doesn’t remind of us of our mistakes. That is not from Him. You simply look to Him and move forward in love. I must choose to look at myself through the lens of Jesus - because if I focus on my failures or mistakes then I am not living for Him. If I LEAN into Him and focus on Him – then I am living JOY. Sometimes we have to go through the fire to get to the JOY.
Leaning in and falling forward is the road I want to be on.
God will use our mess for His message. That’s just the way it is. He doesn’t search for perfect people….His history is using people that are a mess.
When I start to forget who I am and Whose I am - I will remember that In Christ, I am:
*God’s Masterpiece (Eph 2:10)
*Forgiven (Eph 1:7)
*A new creature (2 Cor 5:17)
*Strong in the Lord (Eph 6:10)
*Accepted in Christ (Eph 1:6)
*Loved with everlasting Love (Jer 31:3)
*Overtaken with blessings (Deut 28:2)
Root Down to Rise Up! Root down to God’s promises. Rise up to His grace.
Moving forward and putting God first…because by putting God first everything else falls into place.
“As we come to know God and fully rely on His love for us, we stop allowing the past to determine our future.” ~Renee Swope