At the end of each year and as the new year begins, we often look back at where we have been and what has happened in the past year. If you are unemployed right now, you might struggle with looking back because our thoughts tend to go to our previous employment situation. When they do, what do you think about?
• Do you still feel anger for the organization and for how they treated you?
• Do you think about the people you worked with and miss them?
• Do you feel loss, missing that feeling of vocational success?
If you have had any of these thoughts as well as numerous others, realize it is normal. The challenge is not in thinking but in getting stuck in your thoughts. In fact, the more often you look back, the longer it will take you to move forward to see God’s plan.
In Genesis 19, Lot and his wife were told to flee Sodom and Gomorrah. Their days living there were over and their instructions in verse 17 were, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” So, they did; they ran. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife couldn’t resist and she looked back. Verse 26 tells us “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” God wanted them to move quickly away to a new place. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife couldn’t resist looking back to what she had known and became frozen forever. She never found what God’s plan was for her.
Don’t be like Lot’s wife, forever stuck looking backward. God wants you looking and moving forward. He has amazing plans for you.
In Philippians, we read, “I do not consider myself yet 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” (Philippians 3:13-14).
I love this passage for several reasons. First, it reminds me to “forget the past” as step one. God knows looking back won’t help us. The text points out it won’t be easy, using the word “straining” to describe how it is moving forward. I’ll bet you feel like you are straining these days. Finally, it reminds us to “press on”, to keep moving even though we might be straining, to not quit.
Please, stop looking back. Keep moving forward to see what God’s plans are for you. It is a new year and His plans are good.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.