Look How Far You’ve Come

Do you ever have one of those days where you wonder,

“How in the world did I get here?”

Most of the time when we ask this, it’s during a turbulent moment or season. We’ve had all we can stand and are looking for an escape. Maybe it’s a moment of reflection and we’re afraid things didn’t turn out like we had hoped.

The question is usually the beginning of a negative conversation involving only ourselves. We analyze decision that became stones on the path we have taken.  We replay events that altered that path.  We become trapped in our head, uncertain of who we are, where we are, and where we are going.

It’s a dangerous slope. The thoughts increases in speed the longer we lean into them. Unable to stop, we can do nothing but just lay down and struggle to get back up.

I learned this first hand from skiing for the first time last month. The more I leaned into the hill, the faster I went. I had no control. I couldn’t stop. I spent the first half of my day on the ground at the bottom of every hill. Struggling to get up, I had to take off my skis each time. Defeated! I almost turned them in and quit. But a little help from some YouTube videos and a 12-year-old in an Angry Birds beanie put me on a path to success. That was the lowest, and highest moment of the day…and a story for another time!

Our mind is the same way. When we lean into the negative thoughts they gain speed, sending our minds racing, until we can do nothing but lay down to get them to stop. We feel more like a failure and struggle to get up. Maybe we even give up.

What if we reframed the question? What if we focused on something different? When our mind gets focused on what’s wrong with right now, what if we put the brakes on with this statement?

LOOK HOW FAR I’VE COME!

While I was in Costa Rica (also last month) on a mission trip, I was reminded of the beginning of one of David’s prayers. God had just made David a promise that he would have an everlasting dynasty on the throne of Israel. David was humbled.

Then David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed,

Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that You a have brought me this far?

~1 Chronicles 17:16

Granted, this was during one of the high moments of David’s life. There were many lows that followed. But what if we also used the same tactic during our low moments? What if we changed to this perspective more often? (I  know I’m asking a lot of questions…and I’m not done.)

I get down. I can get way down. (I’m not talking about my dance moves either, but I got those too…like Jagger.)

But this statement by David has become a brake for me in those moments, helping me slow my thoughts. I pause and say…

“God who am I and what is my family that you have brought me this far!”

LOOK HOW FAR I’VE COME!

I’m not who I was...or who my enemies or negative thoughts say that I am.

I’m a husband to an amazing wife. She’s been mine since we were 16. Father of three amazing, God loving, healthy girls. A coach to an awesome group 1st and 2nd-grade girls. I spent ten years as a youth pastor to one of the most outstanding groups imaginable and now I pastor to some amazing adults. My wife is a phenomenal teacher making a difference in the lives of children. And deep down, I know there’s more to become.

I’m not where I was.

I’ve graduated H.S. and College. (Would like to pursue a Masters but don’t want the debt..yet.) I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 4 countries as an adult sharing God’s word and loving His people. I’ve visited Aruba for a week-long get-away with my wife. As a teenager, I visited two other countries and saw things most teenagers don’t get to see.  My wife and I have a goal to visit all 50 states and we are almost halfway there. (I’ve seen the Dave Matthews Band in 3 of them!) And deep down, I know there will be more adventures.

I have more than I deserve.

For the first 11 years of our marriage, we never had to pay rent or utilities. We have bills. More than I want. Some are necessary. Some are unnecessary, due to poor decisions. BUT we are able to keep them paid and still give generously. And deep down, I know God will continue to provide.

That’s where I’ve come from. There’s a lot of heartache and pain mixed in too.

IMG959438

Photo Cred: Alex Bently…creepin’ when I wasn’t lookin’! But thanks for capturing this moment!

After a long week of work, we spent our last day in Costa Rica on an excursion to an island in the Pacific. The boat ride back provided the greatest sunset I may ever see. (But then again who knows!) In this moment, I was in complete awe of God’s goodness in my life. I don’t say all this to brag about me or what I’ve done and experienced. But to brag about how far God has brought my family!  It brings me back to a better place and slows my racing mind.  You have to remind yourself of these things before you need them. Just as David did.

In the last few weeks, I’ve talked to individuals who felt broken, worthless, stuck, and weak. Yet, they were the first ones in their family to graduate high school or college. They have a job that is responsible for saving the lives of others in the medical field or influencing children in the education field. They have overcome an addiction or survived an abusive relationship, and now they share their stories to bring hope to others. They are being the parent they never got to experience and the spouse their mom or dad never had. They’ve made a commitment to set a new standard for their family that will last. However, their current situation has prevented them from seeing how far they’ve come and how much is still in store.

So…with all that being said.

How far has God brought you?

Take some time to look back. You’re better off, farther along, and have more than you think.

I’d love to hear your story!

Who you are?

Where you are you?

What do you have?

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Bible, Family, Learning

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