The other day, I googled quotes on looking back. Boy, what a mistake. First, the volume of opinion about whether or not looking back in your life is a great, or terrible, idea is substantial. 50% of all the quotes I read centered around the idea that looking backward in life is unnecessary, unproductive, and the fastest way to relive regret, failures, and reopen old wounds. The other 50% fervently espoused that looking back is the only way to learn and celebrate how far you’ve come.
I happen to think there is great value in looking back in life if you do it with one objective in mind… to remember the places God met you. It’s a practice that goes all the way back to Samuel in the Old Testament. Samuel erected what he named an Ebenezer – a special pile of stones – to mark and remember the thunder that the Lord created to bring victory in an important battle for him. After that, when Samuel, and others, passed by those stones, they would be reminded of that victory. They would simultaneously be reminded that God’s faithfulness and promises are true.
When walking through the season as we’ve been in, it can be very easy to get disheartened about everything that isn’t possible, things not accomplished, or that our life hasn’t been lived according to what we wrote in our original plan. Easy as that may be, I think it’s important to pause for an “Ebenezer moment” to look back over the past months and to commemorate the small ways in which God has moved you forward, met you in tough times, answered prayers, and developed you to be a little more like Him.
It is when you’ve got a clear view of how He’s guided you up to today that you can fully trust and appreciate what He’s birthing in you for tomorrow. As you go after that plan, your Ebenezer, the remembrances of how He’s been faithful in your past, will give you the fuel you need to keep moving forward during the hard days.
In what ways has God proven himself to you over this last year – big or small? I’d love to know.
1 Samuel 7:12 – “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”