Before getting into today's post, I want to thank all those who have been sending emails of support and encouragement.

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I glance into the rear view mirror of my life from time to time. It's useful for several reasons. First, for purposes of self-examination. I'm not big on denial, so I use my rear view mirror to examine if I'm exhibiting undesirable traits from my past that should have been left there. Unfortunately, the answer is often "yes" (it may just be me, but certain things have a way of temporarily setting me back), and I'm reminded that my life is still very much under construction. If I'm wise, I'll keep my construction gear at the ready for the rest of my life as there will always be areas where growth is necessary. Second, my rear view mirror provides encouragement. It reminds me how much I've grown--that despite my failings, I'm not the person I used to be. It's my past that helped mold me into the person I am today. And that same past should keep me humble and prevent me from becoming high-minded about where I am today. The rear view mirror also reminds me that I've overcome difficult and overwhelming challenges in the past, which encourages me in dealing with my challenges in the present. Finally, I check my rear view mirror to ensure nothing I thought was behind me is creeping up to create a problem in the present. Trying to confirm that lessons from the past have truly been learned.

But sometimes my rear view mirror needs adjusting because I have it fixed at the wrong angle. I can't see what I need to see because I'm focused on the ifs, buts, couldas, wouldas, shouldas of the past. Although this is not something I do often, doing it at all is a complete waste of time. Because while the past can be instructive, it can also be crippling--one can end up gazing into the rear view mirror like a deer in headlights. Like anyone else, I enjoy reminiscing about good times from the past. I have wonderful memories of people, places, and experiences. These aren't the glances back that create problems for me. It's the glances that relate to lost opportunities that are problematic. Isn't it easy to romanticize the past? Especially during times when life in the present isn't so rosy. We like to reminisce about the "good old days". But, in reality, plenty of those days weren't so good; they're just old. And, even if many of them were good, they're gone. As someone once told me, "your past is your past for a reason." The key is to figure out the reason and keep it moving. Whether it was a job, a relationship,  experience, etc., it's in the past. The problem with hanging on to it is that it can skew your focus and wreck your present. You end up treating today as if it has little, if any,  value. If I'm stuck focusing on the rear view mirror, how can I see what's right in front of me in the present? The present is all I have. The future is not promised. And since I want everything God has for me, I must not block today's blessings by staying focused on the past. Letting go of the unnecessary stuff makes room in my hands, arms, and heart to reach out and embrace what I have in the here and now. So I've got to keep my rear view mirror fixed at the right angle--that is, in the proper perspective. That way I'll be present for the present and all the joy it brings.

Is the rear view mirror of your life in its proper perspective?
 


Comments

Jean
08/21/2012 1:53pm

Nat, you are always right on. Your perspecitive on "looking in the rear view mirror" is so true. We have a tendency to look at the past in rose colored glasses because we may be going through right now. But we have to remember that it is the past and we have to continue to grow and move forward. God gives us life experiences so that we can not only grow and learn but we can also look at them and thank Him for His goodness. Thanks for reminding me to keep my eyes on the road ahead!!! (smile)

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Natalie
08/21/2012 4:30pm

Jean,

I agree that we must learn to be thankful for the experiences, but sometimes it takes me a while.:-)

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