Saturday, January 1, 2011

Look Not Behind Thee

At the start of a New Year, I feel like it's apt to talk about moving forward. It seems like everyone does, with their resolutions and hopes for a better year. The idea has almost become cliché. Resolutions seem to last about a week or so, especially when they deal with body image or intangible things. And so, I want to share what I have learned about the importance of looking forward.
One of the shortest lines in scripture is "Remember Lot's wife." That's it. Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt because she looked behind when she had been commanded not too. She was looking back towards the world of comforts, pleasures, and perhaps apathy. It was so much easier for her in Sodom. It was familiar. That's why the Lord advised us to remember Lot's wife. We have a lot in common with her.
While serving as a missionary in Kansas City, Missouri, I learned about not looking back. I had just been transferred from a great area in the northern metro area down to an city south of Independence. It was so hard for me there. I struggled with my companion and the local church leaders. It was a miserable experience. For probably four of the six weeks I was there I was thinking how great things were back in North Kansas City, how I missed it and would rather be there.
Those four weeks were the most stagnant for me. I wasn't progressing in any aspect of missionary work and I wasn't growing spiritually. I finally came to the realization that I needed to enjoy the area and seek for opportunities to learn. I wasn't going to learn what Heavenly Father expected of me by wallowing in self pity. Wishing to go back made it harder for me to have faith to move the work forward. That's not a good thing.
Now, after being home from my mission for almost a year, I realize again the importance of not looking back. We must remember the past. I will always remember my mission. ALWAYS. But I cannot allow myself to be caught thinking that I would be happier if I was still there and not here. It's an easy trap to fall into. I still do. I am still learning from my mission; building on the experiences that I had there. It's time to keep moving forward.
Remember Lot's wife. Look not behind thee. Keep moving forward.