Don’t Look Back

I’ve always been one to live in the past. I have spent much of my time reflecting on how I could have done things differently. Maybe I do that because I love history and see the value of the past. But lately I’ve also wanted to go back because of the hard season I have been through.

If this is your first time reading some of my writing, you may not know that in January 2021 I had a vertigo attack. It left me off balance and fighting a variety of symptoms just to get through the day. Suddenly, I couldn’t drive anymore and I could barely make it through the workday despite working from home. Because of the intensity of lock downs in Manitoba, my doctor initially struggled to diagnose me over the phone. I eventually was allowed to see him in person, in March 2021. Still in pain and barely able to get through the day, my doctor sent a letter to an ENT, and I waited many more months for tests. Tests which said I was completely fine. In between waiting for tests, I lost my job. My employer restructured at the worst time possible for me.

Even now, after the vertigo is gone (it finally fled around the time of my 31st birthday) and I’m regaining my energy, I question some choices that got me here. I’ve had moments where I wanted to go back and change things. Moments where I wonder I had got another opinion in November 2020 when I started feeling run down or stepped away from work, if things would have been different.

Perhaps I would have even got one of the many jobs I have applied for, instead of moving forward what seems to be a confusing set of barely there instructions from the author of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I know His plans are better than mine. Sometimes I would love a little more clarity.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, probably too much time and it’s made me feel like I wasted a lot it staying somewhere I shouldn’t have. It seems like a lot of my dreams, including the most precious dream of me having a family of my own, will never come to pass.

The majority of people right now seem to have the same struggle as me. So many have lost so much to terrible pandemic policies, and what is a continued onslaught against the citizens of the world. How can they not look back? To look forward to the vision of many politicians, the media and thought leaders is terrifying.

But the truth is that’s what we’re moving away from. We’re moving away from our past enslavement. Whether you believe it to be real or metaphorical, that’s up to you, but a lot of us had or have things or situations in our life that just aren’t healthy. Either way, we can’t look back. Because when we look back, we get frozen. Just think of Lot’s wife:

The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of the sky. He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.1

Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom, her old life instead of moving forward with her family and God. As a result, she lost it. Perhaps she liked the debauchery in Sodom or maybe she simply couldn’t imagine something better. After all, it can be difficult to focus on the future when we do not know what’s ahead.

Just look at Israel after the Exodus, for an example. They were free but while wandering the dessert they said: “We wish that we had died by Yahweh’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”2

And this is just one example of many when they said it would be better to be slaves or dead in Egypt than free and moving into God’s promised land. It’s enough to make you want to scream, but we must keep in mind that we often have the same problem.

It’s taken a lot of prayer and reflection for me to be able to say that I’m better off than before the stress of 2020 and resulted in me getting sick. I can now believe that God has better plans for my life than my old job or the house I wanted to buy, even when I’m not entirely sure how we’re getting there.

One of my favourite songs by For King and Country, Burn the Ships has taken on new meaning for me. While the whole song is impactful, the chorus/ end of the song is applicable no matter what you are trying to leave behind in your past:

Step into a new day

We can rise up from the dust and walk away

We can dance upon our heartache, yeah

So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships

And step into a new day

We can rise up from the dust and walk away

We can dance upon our heartache, yeah

So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships

And don’t you look back

And don’t you look back

And don’t you look back3

While driving recently, it struck me that is exactly what I need to do with the pain and heartache of this past season. It’s time for me to burn the ship of sickness and stress. I need to burn the ship of fear that there is no coming back from this and move forward.


1. Genesis 19:23-26

2. Exodus 16:3

3. Burn The Ships, Burn The Ships, Matt Hales, Seth Mosley, Joel Smallbone and Luke Smallbone, ©2018 Curb| Word Entertainment

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