Stuck in the Past

“But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26

Looking back.

Lot’s wife turned into a pillar salt when she looked back. I used to think that meant that she turned into a pile of table salt spilling over on the ground. While I recognized the consequence of looking back, I completely missed how it applied to my current life. Until I saw a picture of the dead sea forming a pillar of immovable hardened salt piled up over the years. That completely changed the way I view this verse. Yet, right in scripture it says that she turned into a pillar, a pillar of salt. A literal statue that stays in one place and never moves anywhere. A pillar of salt that is lifeless and stuck in dead waters. Immovable. Frozen.  Going no where and doing nothing. A pillar of salt that no longer flows or moves with the water of life. Whoa!

Several months before I graduated from college, I had to write and think a lot about the past. Past memories and experiences formed in my mind like a trigger holding me hostage. And what came up was a lot of junk. A lot of overwhelming, paralyzing, frightful memories. Things I would rather forget. Things that I wish I had not done, and wish that had not been done to me. Those things led me into a deep anger and depression. One which I could not pull myself out of, nor could I move forward. I was stuck.

Often when I think of past experiences, it takes me right back to that place where I do not want to be. That place of being ensnared and shamed, yet again. Trapped in a spiders web. Stuck in the past. Stuck like Lot’s wife. Just a pillar of salt standing in the dead waters of life. Frozen in time. Unable to move forward with my life. When I look back, like Lot’s wife did, I too become a pillar of salt.

When I look back at my past failures and sins.

When I look back at all the things I have done and failed to do.

When I look back at the choices that I have made.

When I look back on what I wish I could do over.

When I look back at all the people that I have wronged.

When I look back at the person who I used to be.

When I look back at all the things that have been done to me.

When I look back at the tragedies, and devastation, and the oppression in the world.

When I look back at the abusers and assaulters.

When I look back at the evil that has been done in this world.

When I look back and ponder where God was and is.

I too become a pillar of salt, when I look back. Stuck. Immovable. Going no where. Having no dreams, or faith, or hope, or anything that is life giving. When I look back, I remain paralyzed in the past. Frozen in time. Unable to move. Without healing. Without hope. Like a web I become tangled in. The layers of my past building up, just like a pillar of salt. I get stuck, and unable to break free.

Do you ever feel like that? Stuck in the past and unable to move forward?

God wants to remove the pillars of salt in our lives. The webs that ensnare us. The things that keep us from moving forward. He wants to breathe new life into us and get the living waters moving again. We cannot do this if we stay stuck in the past. If we continue to look back, we will remain a paralyzed pillar that never moves or does anything with this life. If we continue to look back in shame, or regret, or anger, or fear. We will be dead pillars living. Depressed and void of hope. If we don’t stop looking back.

We cannot move forward if we are looking back at shame, hurt, and fear.

Thankfully though, our stories and lives do not end like Lot’s wife. We do not have to remain pillars of salt that are stuck in our past lives. When we look to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our stories and faith, we find the strength to press on and endure the race of life. We find living waters that get the salty pillars of our lives moving again. Jesus endured the cross, so that we might have hope, and a future. Something to look forward to, rather than looking back.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Romans 12:1-2

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