Going Backwards to Move Forwards
My husband and I play a kind of unspoken competitive game whenever we’re on a road trip to somewhere new. His sat-nav system gets pitched against my Google Maps for accuracy and speed. In our pre-Covid-19 overseas travel this caused us to ‘arrive’ at some unexpected destinations—think tiny country lanes not designed for cars and not-so-short shortcuts. Not surprisingly, this also caused emotions within our car to run high. Despite not agreeing on whose navigation system was superior, we did agree that once we got lost, our best strategy was to go back to where we were and to begin again. It might not be the fastest option, but sometimes going back is exactly what we need to do in order to move forward.
When I feel lost in my own life and I am not sure which direction to take, I seek comfort in reflection and prayer. In recent years I have been exploring the power of written reflection. I am discovering that one of the best teachers for gaining clarity about what is next is to revisit the decisions I’ve made in the past. Time spent reflecting on what I have been learning, what has worked well and what has not, gives me confidence to move forward with intention.
I must admit that when I feel stuck, my natural desire is to engineer my own future as a way of gaining some momentum and escape the discomfort of uncertainty. But by looking back, I harness the power of pausing. I am encouraged to sit a little longer, to be deliberate and to discern before leaping forwards. As I do this, I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the goodness and grace I have failed to see in my own life, and I remember that no matter how unexpected the road has been in the past, that God will continue to take every step with me. I can say with certainty that reflection and prayer are the most superior navigation systems I have ever used and that they ensure that I ‘arrive’ exactly where I am meant to be.
words Kelly Cooper