I’ve crashed my car quite a few times. Even had my first car accident 2 weeks after I got my license. In life, I’ve had quite a few crashes as well. Most of those were due to my inability to quit staring at my rearview mirror.
I have had some rough things to deal with in my life – most of us do. I was painfully shy as a child. Most who know me now can’t believe that, but I was. I was terrified of a teacher calling on me to read aloud in class. Life happens and this bright-eyed girl had some things written on her pages that were hurtful and shaped her: the girl who made fun of me, the boy who violated me, the man who didn’t hear no, the people who said they loved me, but hurt me still. We all have those people and those moments in life that impact us. It shapes how we drive through life and if we keep focused on that, it isn’t long before we are crashing, driving off the road and find ourselves in a real mess.
Several years ago, I went through a fabulous program called Celebrate Recovery. It is for anyone with a hurt, habit or hang-up. (Sounds like anyone, right?) It dug through that rearview mirror that I operated my life from and showed me how small that was compared to the windshield in front of me. It also helped me realize how not all my rearview experience were negative, and helped me find those positive memories and amazing people who helped shaped me into the woman I am.
One such lady was my piano and voice teacher. I remember being embarrassed of my huge hands. They were as big as the boys. At my first lesson, she grabbed my hands and gasped, “Oh my goodness! Look at those beautiful piano fingers.” Suddenly, I was proud of my hands. I could stretch and hit notes that others could not. One day, she heard me singing and said, “You have such a gift.” The first time she forced me to sing a solo, I remember squeezing my legs together to stop the shaking. She started plugging me into anything she could musically. She believed in me. She cheered for me. She forever changed who I would become. She impacted me for good.
Two choices I have made because of my past is becoming a music teacher and a foster mom. I want children to have that person in their life who believes in them – that sees the good, the wonderful and cheers them on. One amazing lady gave me a gift that has forever shaped my life. I want to give to others what she gave to me.
My rearview mirror has some unpleasant experiences in it, but I no longer fear it or let it be the focus of where I am going. It is simply a reference point of why I react the way I do or maybe why I do some of the things I do. Now I drive through life enjoying the scenery and the gigantic windshield in front of me. When I have to glance in my rearview mirror for perspective, I don’t get distracted. I let those experiences keep me from falling into the same pot holes and stretch me to drive places I’ve never been before.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)