My Mom was working on a commissioned painting, and it wasn’t working out like she had envisioned, so she called me, as she often does, to get my opinion. Any time she calls for help, I will ask questions that may seem obvious, but when you are so focused on a problem, it is hard to see the big picture. I asked her what medium she was using for this piece. I asked her if she had looked at other pictures and what else was going in the painting. She said that she had looked at several different paintings for inspiration, but nothing was helping. As she was answering, I remembered that she did a similar art piece a few months back. I suggested that she go back and look at it and think about the process that it took to get to that finished piece. I was out of ideas, as I am not an artist, so I was hoping that I was able to help her.
The next message I got from her was a beautiful picture of the painting that was nearly finished. I called her and asked her what changed. She told me that she went back and looked at her previous painting and it brought back the memories of the same struggles she had with that painting as well. Reminiscing about her own mistakes and victories with her previous painting helped her to move forward past the bump in the road in the current painting.
As all of this was going the Lord reminded me that we are all too often looking at other people’s lives instead of looking at back at our own lives. He wants us to do this so that we can move forward into our present while learning from our past.
We can’t learn how to fix our own mess by looking at someone else’s “finished project.” When we look back at our past, we can see how God helped move us forward over the hurdles that life put in our way. Learning from the mistakes and victories in our own life help us to be overcomers!
This does not mean that we can’t learn from the past mistakes of others, but what it does mean is that we have to stop comparing and thinking that other people’s mistakes will save us from our own.
Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us to make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.”
We must not forget our past because that is where God was working to help us in our present.
I challenge you to look back into your own life the next time you feel stuck. Think about the situations that you went through and how you got through it. What lessons did you take away from that experience? What hardships were shown after all was said and done? Step back for a moment, ask yourself questions, and then reevaluate.