How many times in your day do you look back?
I’m not talking as you backup out of your parking spot.
How many times in your day, do you think about the past?
It might be the immediate past.
Questioning ourselves like:
Did I say what I needed to say?
Was that weird?
Did I get that question right on the test?
Why did they humiliate me like that?
Scanning the past in such a way is pure rumination.
The majority of the time it does absolutely no good at all.
It solves nothing and just leads to anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion.
In the Gospel of Luke Christ explains what to do about what we have left behind in time.
“Jesus said, No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”-Luke 9:62
In this passage Christ tells us that in order to move forward we have but one choice. Stop turning our heads back to our past and focus solely on the work to be done in the future. Uncertainty and fear about the past is a weapon the devil uses very slyly. The enemy is like someone tapping you on the shoulder so you are forced to turn around. You feel the tap and out of instinct begin to ruminate.
The difference rests in the choice. The choice to tighten our grip on the plow and focus on doing everything to reach the kingdom of God.
Not all looking back is bad.
Reflection differs from rumination.
In reflection we are able to look back on what we have done or how we have been hurt in the past and make a choice. In reflection we are looking back to gain a greater understanding, which pushes us forward.
Trench, Twenty One Pilots new album (which is awesome btw), touches a bit on rumination.
In the song “Cut My Lip” we are told,
Though I am bruised, face of contusions
Know I’ll keep movin’, know I’ll keep movin’
We do not need to look back at what has given us the bruises.
We need; however, to keep moving.
The lyrics continue…
I keep on goin’ back
Even though it’s me I abuse
How true is this?
The rumination needs to stop and a surge of zeal for the future needs to be the goal.
So, this week.
As the past creeps up and taps you on the shoulder.
Keep your hands on the plow.
Focus on the Kingdom.
Even though the bruises hurt, the cuts are deep, the sweat is stinging your eyes….