Last fall my sister and brother in law introduced me to something new. Mountain biking, I had heard the stories and seen the resulting injuries of those who, as adults have taken up this sport; so I was a little uncertain as we mounted the bikes for that first ride. It was short lived, not the ride but my uncertainty. What a great time! What a feeling, I couldn’t wait to go again.
Over the past couple of months I have felt the draw of the trails and have fallen in love with this sport. Mountain biking is fast paced and requires focus, as I am riding I can’t let my mind wander, or I may find himself sailing over the handlebars. And when I do find that I have allowed distraction to cloud my path, I can’t continue to beat myself up over the mis-step I made that almost sent me tumbling over, or I will not be ready for the next challenge and react poorly. I am learning that as the trail races beneath my tires I have to think forward and learn to anticipate what is ahead of me, what may be around the next curve and not focus on what I just conquered – or didn’t quite conquer.
Kind of like life. I have a tendency to dwell on the things I did incorrectly and remember those instead of being thankful for the lessons I learned and the growth that occurred through each of life’s experiences. But the fact is, when we spend our time focusing on past achievements or failures we are not preparing for the next opportunity.
Throughout the new testament Paul makes many references to forward focus. In Phil 3:13-14 he writes, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. 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.”
What is this saying? It is saying to stop dwelling on what is behind and move forward. We learn from every experience, but we can’t grow through those experiences if our focus remains in that place. God is moving us forward to the promise of His Son and He will use each and every experience for His purpose.
Life is happening in front of you not behind, set your eyes firmly on Christ and know that His promise is that you become something better than what you have been. His plan for your life is that you grow.